What is the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) 2007 Act?

This is a piece of legislation (law) which aims to protect people from being harmed. This is because there are people who might find it more difficult to stop harm happening to them.

The Act calls people in this situation ‘adults at risk’.

Who are ‘adults at risk’?

‘Adults at risk’ include people over the age of 16 who

  • find it difficult to keep themselves, their money or property safe
  • might be being harmed by other people or who are harming themselves
  • are more vulnerable because of illness, disability or mental disorder (this could mean people with mental health problems, people with dementia, people with a learning disability).

This does not mean that all people with an illness, a disability or mental disorder are always at risk.  Some people in this situation at some point in their life can find it more difficult to keep themselves safe and need help to do so.

What is harm?

The Act talks about people being ‘harmed’.  Harm means doing things to a person that can hurt or upset them.  People can be harmed in different ways.

  • Physical Harm - being physically hurt.  For example being hit, punched, kicked, shook, locked up.
  • Psychological Harm - being emotionally hurt.  For example, being really frightened or bullied by someone which makes the person feel really upset.
  • Financial Harm - for example, having money or belongings stolen, stopping a person using their money or personal things, damaging their property.
  • Sexual Harm - making a person do sexual things they don’t want to do or don’t understand.  For example, making a person have sex or to make them look at sex DVDs or photos; getting a person to do sexual things for money or presents, taking photos at private times.
  • Neglect - stopping a person getting the things they need.  For example, food or the right food, medicine, seeing a doctor.

Anyone can cause harm and can be a friend, relative, worker, carer, partner, volunteer or other adult at risk. Harm can happen anywhere including at home, in public, hospital, day care.