Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Adult Support and Protection in Orkney

Adult Support and Protection illustration.

What to do if you are worried about an adult at risk

The Adult Support and Protection Act became law in Scotland in 2007. The law provides powers and duties for local authorities to investigate where they hear that an adult might be at risk and to support adults who are at risk of harm. People who can be helped using this Act must meet the following three criteria:

  • Be unable to look after their own welfare, financial affairs or property.
  • Be at risk of harm.
  • Be more vulnerable to being harmed than other people because they have a disability; mental illness or because they are frail.

However, even if a person does not meet the criteria, they will be offered advice or assistance by the local authority. What does Harm mean?

Harm can be anything that has a negative impact on a person and the way that they wish to live. It may mean that someone is abusing the person, that they are being neglected or that they are neglecting their own wellbeing. Harm can happen at home, in a care home or a hospital or in the local community.

Financial harm is where a person’s money or property is taken away by another person. Often those causing financial harm are family or friends of the person. However, there are criminals who target groups of people via mail and telephone scams along with bogus workmen.

Physical harm is where a person is hit, slapped or subject to assault by any means that injures or hurts them.

Sexual harm may involve sexual assault or rape. Very old people and disabled people can be subject to such abuse although the general public would not like to think that this happens.

Psychological harm is where a person is threatened; emotional pressure is applied; affection denied or made conditional. It is often difficult to detect.

Neglect can involve not providing food, warmth, access to medication or medical care. It may be because the person’s changing needs have not been taken proper account of.

What to do if you are worried about someone or worried about yourself

  • In office hours, phone the Adult duty social worker on 01856873535. They can talk through the worries with you and start to take action if this is required.
  • Out of office hours, phone the Balfour Hospital switchboard on 01856888000 and ask to speak to the duty social worker.
  • If you are very worried about harm happening to someone currently or imminently, you can phone the Police on 101.

    Adult Protection Committee Orkney logo.

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