Neglect is a type of abuse that occurs for people who are dependent on assistance, such as the elderly, children or people with a disability. It is neglect when a person does not receive the assistance they need in order to feel well.

Neglect can be at the hand of a relative or caretaker and can occur within the home or nursing home or other institutions.

  • The elderly often need increased assistance in their old age, like with medication or visits to a health care center. It is neglect when a caretaker does not tend to those needs.
  • People with a disability often need specialized assistance with daily tasks. It is neglect when people with a disability are injured or need assistance due to illness and do not receive assistance. The same applies when people with a disability need to get between places and do not receive the agreed services.
  • Children are in the custody of their parents and it is neglect if a child is poorly dressed, does not receive medication, support with school or enough to eat.

People who are neglected often experience helplessness, fear, anger, anxiety and depression. They have a fear of not being in control of their own lives. This makes them less likely to report neglect. It is important to always report neglect because everyone has the right to feel well.

It may be neglect if the person:

  • Dismisses your need for something to drink or eat.
  • Ignores your requests for assistance to get to the toilet.
  • Does not answer you when you speak.
  • Does not give you your medication at the appointed time.
  • Does not care if you are wearing dirty or wet clothes.
  • Does not take you to a doctor when you need it.
  • Does not pick you up as was agreed.

Get help

It is always better to tell someone how you feel. If you want assistance you can contact Bjarkarhlíð in Reykjavík or Bjarmahlíð in Akureyri, which specialize in support for adults dealing with any type of abuse. It does not matter how long ago the abuse took place.

Children and adults can always speak to someone at 1717 (the Red Cross help-line) or contact 112 by phone or through web chat.

Do you recognize abuse?

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After Fjóla’s child’s father suddenly left her and their 3 years old girl, Ásdís, she increasingly turned to alcohol. The more Fjóla drinks, the more frequently she becomes angry with Ásdís who looks very much like her father. Fjóla has often snapped at Ásdís by telling her that it is her fault that her father left them or tells her to go to her room because she cannot stand the sight of her.

Fjóla’s neighbor lady often babysits Ásdís but one time when Fjóla does not pick up her daughter until the next morning the neighbor lady doesn’t exactly know what to do.

Is this abuse? Pick your answer:

Available support

See all support

Icelandic Human Rights Centre

At the Icelandic Human Rights Centre, immigrants can get free legal counsel.

Child Protection Services

Child protection service committees in each municipality help children who exist in unacceptable living conditions and provide support for families.

Merki fyrir fatlaða á vegg fyrir ofan skábraut.

Rights Protection Officer

Rights Protection Officer helps disabled or Deaf people and people with an impairment or long-term health condition. They help with everything to do with rights, finances, and personal issues.

Elder abuse

Senior citizens are more likely to experience abuse than younger generations.

Abuse of people with disabilities

People with disabilities are more likely to experience abuse than other people.

Manneskja situr í hjólastól. Hún snýr frá okkur og horfir upp í vindinn. Mikið og liðað hár sveiflast í vindinum.