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

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

  • The elderly often need increased assistance in their old age, like with medication or visits to a health care center. It is negligence when a caretaker does not tend to those needs.
  • People with a disability often need specialized assistance with daily tasks. It is negligence 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 parents and it is negligence if a child is poorly dressed, does not receive medication or enough to eat.

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

It may be negligence if the person:

  • Trivializes your need for something to drink or eat.
  • Ignores your requests for assistance to get to the toilet.
  • Doesn’t answer you when you speak.
  • Doesn’t give you your medication at the appointed time.
  • Doesn’t care if you are wearing dirty or wet clothes.
  • Doesn’t take you to a doctor if you need it.
  • Doesn’t 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 or Bjarmahlíð in Akureyri, which specialize in support for adults dealing with any type of abuse. It doesn’t 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 internet chat.

Do you recognize abuse?

See more stories


After Fjóla’s child’s father suddenly left her and their three 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 doesn’t pick up her daughter until the next morning the neighbor lady doesn’t exactly know what to do.

Is this abuse?

Available resources

View more resources


Bjarkarhlíð is a center for people who have experienced abuse. There you get all the support and counseling you need in one place. All assistance is on your terms.

Þrjár dökkhærðar stelpur sitja á grasi. Þær snúa baki í myndavélina og spjalla saman.

Save the Children

Save the Children (Barnaheill) offers consultation about the welfare of children. On their website, it is possible to report inappropriate online behaviour against children.

Icelandic Human Rights Centre

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

Elder abuse

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