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.
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
- requiring specific organisations to co-operate 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; and
- 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
- 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
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
You can find our more about adult support and protection at the
Against Harm website.