This page has been created for reference of organisational or institutional abuse, although it is not an extensive or a definitive source of relevant data.
Should you become aware of an elderly or vulnerable person who is suffering such abuse; I would suggest seeking professional legal advice.

What is organisational or institutional abuse?

Organisational or institutional abuse is the ill-treatment and poor or inadequate care or support of people, or regular poor practice that affects the place of care. Occurring when the individual’s wishes or needs are sacrificed for the convenience of a group, service or organisation.

Examples of organisational or institutional abuse may include:

  • Failure to respect or support a person or group’s right to independence, dignity or choice
  • Authoritarian management or rigid regimes
  • Abusive and disrespectful attitudes towards people using the service
  • Misuse of medication
  • Discouraging visits or the involvement of relatives or friends
  • Lack of person centred care planning or a ritualised care routine
  • No flexibility in bed times or deliberately waking someone
  • Failure to manage residents with abusive behaviour
  • Lack of personal clothing or possessions
  • Bare living areas, deprived environment or lack of stimulation
  • Lack of choice in decoration or other aspects of the environment
  • Lack of choice in food or menus or menu planning
  • Unnecessary involvement in personal finances by staff or management
  • Failure to provide care with dentures, spectacles or hearing aids
  • Inappropriate use of nursing or medical procedures
  • Interference with personal correspondence or communication
  • Failure to respond to complaints
  • Inappropriate confinement, restraint or restriction
  • Inappropriate use of power or control

Indicators of organisational or institutional abuse may include:

  • Treating adults like children
  • Lack of flexibility and choice for people using the service
  • Peremptory decision making by staff group, service or organisation
  • Strict, regimented or inflexible routines or schedules for daily activities such as meal times, bed , awakening times, bathing, washing or going to the toilet
  • Poor record-keeping and missing documents
  • Absence of visitor
  • Inadequate staffing levels
  • Lack of choice or options with food and drink, dress, possessions, daily and social activities
  • Lack of privacy, dignity, choice or respect for people as individuals
  • Unsafe or unhygienic environment
  • Lack of provision for dress, diet or religious observance in accordance with an individual’s belief or cultural background
  • Few social, recreational and educational activities
  • Withdrawing people from individually valued community or family contact
  • Absence of individual care plans
  • Lack of management oversight and support
  • Poor standards of care


Further information relating to types of abuse, which you may find useful, can be found at the following links: