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New bill offers greater protection to adults

31 March 2006

The Scottish Executive has launched a new bill, aimed at offering greater protection to adults at risk of abuse.

The Adult Support and Protection Bill will provide powers to:

  • set up new multi-agency adult protection committees to oversee adult protection policies locally;
  • oblige agencies to investigate suspected abuse;
  • provide new powers to carry out assessments of the person and his or her circumstances;
  • create more options for intervention.

The bill also enhances powers which exist already in the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 and the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.

In the main, it takes forward recommendations contained in the Scottish Law Commission report on vulnerable adults (1997). The bill addresses concerns raised about the care and treatment of adults at risk contained in reports by the Mental Welfare Commission and the Social Work Inspection Agency.

Deputy Health Minister Lewis Macdonald said: "This legislation aims to protect adults from the many forms that abuse can take, whether this is physical injury, neglect, sexual abuse or financial exploitation."

Ann Ferguson, secretary of Vulnerable Adults Alliance Scotland (VAAS) and elder abuse project manager for Age Concern Scotland said: "Vulnerable Adults Alliance Scotland welcomes this bill as a sensible and much needed way forward to improve safeguards for the most vulnerable people in society, while giving due regard to individual rights."