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Singapore Government

Stop Family Violence - Abuse of Vulnerable Adults

Stop Family Violence - Abuse of Vulnerable Adults

This publication provides basic information on abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults.


This brochure provides information on:

  • Definition of a vulnerable adult
  • Various forms of vulnerable adult abuse 
  • Signs and symptoms of vulnerable adult abuse
  • Profile of abusers 
  • Help and support available

Who is a Vulnerable Adult?

A vulnerable adult is someone who is 18 years of age or older; and is, by reason of mental or physical infirmity, disability or incapacity, incapable of protecting himself or herself from abuse, neglect or self-neglect.

What is Vulnerable Adult Abuse?

The abuse of a vulnerable adult refers to any act, or failure to act, by a person or caregiver in a position of trust or control, which puts the safety, health or well-being of a vulnerable adult at risk.

The types of Vulnerable Adult Abuse may include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional & psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Abandonment
  • Financial abuse

A person who abuses may defend his/her actions or deny that he/she has harmed the vulnerable adult, or may simply not be conscious of the negative effect of his/her actions on the vulnerable adult. Persons who abuse may include family members, adult children, caregivers or the spouse of the victim.

It takes courage to speak up when you see a vulnerable adult being abused, or to disclose the abuse if you are a victim or to admit that you may be abusing a vulnerable adult. Please seek help early.


National Anti-Violence and Sexual Harassment Helpline (NAVH)

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