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Adult Support and Protection Act

Some people may find it more difficult to stop harm happening to them. The Act calls people in this situation 'adults at risk'.

The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 was introduced to identify and protect individuals who fall into the category of adults at risk.

There are many different ways in which harm can be inflicted on someone. It could be physical, psychological, financial or sexual harm, or neglect. Harm can happen anywhere including your home, in hospital or a care home, at work, or in a public place.

More information

You can find our more about adult support and protection at the Act Against Harm website.

Measures of the Act

Measures of the Act include:

  • requiring councils to make the necessary enquiries and investigations to see if action is needed to stop or prevent harm happening.
  • requiring specific organisations to cooperate with councils, and each other, about adult protection investigations.
  • the introduction of a range of protection orders including assessment orders, removal orders, and banning orders.
  • a legislative framework for the establishment of local, multi-agency, Adult Protection Committees across Scotland.

The Act defines adults at risk as people aged 16 years or over who:

  • may be unable to safeguard their well-being, rights, interests, or their property
  • may be harmed by other people
  • because of a disability, illness or mental disorder are more at risk of being harmed than others who are not so affected

Having a particular condition, such as a learning disability or a mental illness, does not automatically mean an adult is at risk. Someone can have a disability and be perfectly able to look after themselves. For an adult to be considered at risk, all three parts of the definition must be met.

Are you being harmed?

If you are unable to protect yourself from being harmed, it is important to tell someone.

Everyone has a right to be safe.

Remember, if someone is harming you, then they may be doing it to others too.

Do you know someone who is being harmed?

If you think you know someone who is being harmed, is suffering from neglect or is at risk of being harmed, you must tell someone.

Remember, the person being harmed may not be able to report it.

Who should I contact?

If you, or someone you know, is being harmed or suffering from neglect, it is important to tell someone.

Everyone has a right to be safe. Even if it happened many years ago, it is still important to report it.

If you think an adult is at risk, or would like advice about anything to do with harm, you should contact your local council social work services who will assist you. You can also speak to a health professional or the police. They will take your concerns seriously.