What does Adult Protection mean and what is harm?
The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 was introduced to protect adults at risk of harm.
There are many different types of harm, including:
- Physical : can include hitting, shaking, punching, pulling hair etc, locking them in a room or limiting their freedom
- Emotional / psychological : can include being made to feel scared or embarrassed, being intimidated or bullied, constantly criticised, not being allowed to see or talk freely to other people
- Neglect : can include not being given the correct medication or care, not allowed to see a doctor or other health professional, not allowed enough food or have proper heating, lack of privacy and dignity
- Financial : can include stealing, fraud, forcing to hand over money or goods, misuse of property or benefits or stopping someone getting their own money or possessions
- Sexual abuse : can include any sexual activity that the person does not understand or want; degrading or inappropriate photographs
Who is at risk?
Any adult (an individual aged 16 or over) who:
- is unable to safeguard their own well-being, property, rights or other interests;
- is affected by disability, mental health problems, illness of physical or mental infirmity, and is more vulnerable to being harmed than adults who are not so affected.
How to recognise if someone is being harmed or at risk of harm?
There are a number of ways to spot if an adult is at risk of or abuse or neglect. Some of these include:
- the adult themselves may advise they are being harmed or they may make a comment which leads you to suspect they are being abused or neglected;
- unusual, unexplained or suspicious injury;
- unexplained loss of weight or increased confusion;
- the adult may appear frightened of a particular person;
- unable to spend time alone with the adult due to the insistence or presence of another;
- unexplained debts or reduction in assets may be indicators of financial abuse.
What to do if you are concerned someone is at risk?
If you are worried that you or someone you know is being harmed, is suffering from neglect, or is being abused, it is important to tell someone. Your report will be treated in confidence. Everyone has a right to be safe.
Make sure they are safe - If immediate help is required phone 999.
During office hours, you can contact Health and Social Care Connect by phone 0141 287 0555.
Outwith office hours you can phone Glasgow and Partners Emergency Social Work Services on 0300 343 1505.
You can also phone Scottish Police non-emergency on 101.
You can also speak to a health professional (for example your doctor or a health visitor) or the police. They will take your concerns seriously.
If you know or suspect that an adult is being harmed then you need to report your concerns. Don't assume that someone else has already reported it. The person being harmed or neglected may not be able to report it themselves. Remember, the person who did this may be doing it to others too.