Persons at risk of harm

The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 was introduced in October 2008. It provides duties, powers and measures for the support and protection of adults who may be at risk of harm.


Information about the Adult Support and Protection Act

In the case of adults, they may be being abused because they cannot safeguard their own wellbeing, property, rights or interests, putting them at risk of harm. Alternatively, they may be affected by a physical or mental disability, illness or infirmity making them more vulnerable to being harmed.

Under this Act an 'adult at risk' means a person aged sixteen or over who

  • is unable to safeguard their own wellbeing, property rights or other interests
  • because they are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness or physical and mental infirmity, is more vulnerable to being harmed then those not so affected.

Both of the above criteria need to apply to identify an individual as an 'adult at risk of harm'.

An adult is at risk of harm if

  • another person's conduct is causing or is likely to cause the adult to be harmed, or
  • the adult is engaging or is likely to engage in conduct which is likely to cause self-harm.

Harm includes all harmful conduct

  • conduct which causes physical harm
  • conduct which causes psychological harm (e.g. by causing fear, alarm and distress)
  • unlawful conduct which appropriates or adversely affects property, rights or interests (e.g. theft, fraud, embezzlement or extortion)
  • conduct which causes 'self-harm'

We all have a responsibility to report whether we 'know or believe' an adult to be at risk of harm.


What to do and who to contact if you know, believe or suspect that an adult may be at risk of harm

If you know, believe or suspect that an adult may be at risk of harm you should speak to someone about it as soon as you can.

If you or the person being harmed is in immediate danger you should ring the police on 999, for non-emergency Police Scotland can be contacted on 101.


If it is less urgent, you can contact:


Adult Social Care Enquiry Team

Monday to Thursday (Office Hours)  8.30am - 5pm

Friday 8.30am - 4pm

  • Tel: 01506 284848



Outside office hours

Social Care Emergency Team

  • Tel: 01506 281028/9