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Adult Support and Protection

The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 provides a range of measures which councils and other public bodies can use to support and protect adults who are unable to safeguard themselves, their property and their rights.

The Act places a duty on councils to make inquiries where it believes that someone is an adult at risk. Other public bodies, like the Police and Health Boards, have a duty to tell the council if they are concerned about an adult.

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

  • are unable to safeguard themselves, their property (their home, the things they own), their rights or other interests;
  • are at risk of harm; and
  • because they are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness or physical or mental infirmity, are more vulnerable to being harmed than others who are not so affected.

All three of the elements of the definition must be met.

A person cannot be classed as an adult at risk simply by virtue of the fact that they meet one element of the definition.

Following the investigations of the council and other professionals such as the Police and health professionals, they will collectively establish whether there is genuine case for concern or intervention.

If there is, an Initial Adult Protection Case Conference will be held. This is a multi-agency disciplinary meeting used to share information and make decisions about an adult deemed to be at risk in circumstances where harm has occurred or is suspected.   Thereafter, Review Case Conferences can be held in order to check that the right supports and protection are in place and if necessary, amendments can be made.

Importantly, the Act balances the need to intervene in certain circumstances with an adult’s right to live as independently as possible.

If you are the adult at risk, an Advocate can support you through this process. Prior to the Initial Case Conference, your Advocate will explain to you the types of things that will be discussed and the decisions that will be made. Your Advocate can also attend this meeting to support you and speak on your behalf if you do not feel able to. Alternatively, if you are not able to attend, your Advocate can go and put forward the views that you have expressed to them.

Useful Links –

Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 

Dumfries and Galloway Council Adult Support and Protection

Act Against Harm