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Abuse and Neglect Quick Guide

The Abuse and Neglect Quick Guide is for individuals and/or families who are suffering from harm inflicted by another person. This harm can take on many forms such as emotional, physical, sexual, or financial. It can also be either direct harm in the form of abuse or a failure to act in the form of neglect. The abuse/neglect can either be an isolated incident or an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed. If it is an isolated incident the victim may need assistance in the form of emotional support, legal advocacy and health care. If the abuse is ongoing, the victim may need help in leaving the situation that is causing the abuse and additional interventions such as mandated reporting may need to occur in addition to supportive services. For more information on abuse see the 9 Types of Violence and Abuse document.

The goal of the Abuse and Neglect Quick Guide is to assist individuals with understanding the different types of abuse as they affect unique populations; this includes symptoms, reactions to, and how to support individuals who experience abuse. The tool also aims to assist clients in finding the resources available to help them with recovery and legal advocacy when they experience abuse.


  • Child abuse is a very serious issue, and can take the form of different kinds of abuse. Since children are especially vulnerable; being able to prevent, identify, and quickly intervene in child abuse is important in ensuring the best quality of life for children. (For more information, see the Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect document).
  • Another vulnerable population that experiences high rates of abuse is the elderly. Due to disability and chronic illnesses, the elderly population can often experience many different forms of abuse. (For more information see the Understanding Elder Abuse document, or the Elder Abuse document also available in Spanish).
  • Sexual abuse can be a particularly devastating type of abuse, and can affect all people regardless of age, marital status, race, or socioeconomic status. (For more information, see the Understanding Sexual Abuse document, the Sexual Assault - Know Your Rights, also available in Spanish ).

Many people think that abuse comes from those they don’t know; however most cases of abuse come from someone who the victim’s know. This is especially true of sexual abuse, where 73% of cases involve someone the victim knows.
Among military families, especially among those that experience combat, have increased rates of sexual trauma, domestic violence, and physical abuse. (For more information on abuse in the military see the Military sexual trauma document).

For more information on the prevention, intervention, and treatment of abuse see the Abuse Resource Tool .

Court documents:
Anti-Harassment Forms and Instructions
How to get a protection order in WA