Adult Protection - Adults at Risk of Harm


Anyone with concerns about an adult who is elderly, is disabled or has mental health problems should contact the local authority:

Tel. 01343 563999

On this page, you will find information on:

  • what you should do if you are concerned that someone is being harmed or may be at risk of harm
  • supporting and protecting adults from harm


The Scottish Government has introduced a new law called “The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007”, which came into force on 28 October 2008.

The Act provides new measures to support and protect adults who are thought to be at risk of harm.

Under the Act, Moray Council has lead responsibility to make inquiries about a person’s well-being, property or financial affairs if it is known or believed:

(a) that the person is an adult at risk, and
(b) that intervention may be required in order to protect the person’s well-being, property or financial affairs.

How does Moray Council do this?

Moray Council has set up an Adult Protection Unit. The unit is responsible, on behalf of the Council, for overseeing inquiries and investigations of any adult protection concerns.

What do we mean by ‘an adult at risk’?

The Act defines an ‘adult at risk ‘ as a person aged16 years or over who:

  • is unable to safeguard her/his own well-being, property, rights or other interests;
  • is at risk of harm; and
  • because they are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness or
  • physical or mental infirmity is more vulnerable to being harmed than adults who are not so affected.

Who may be at harm?

Some examples might include people with a mental illness, physical or sensory disability, learning disability, older people who are frail or people who self harm.

What do we mean by ‘harm’?

Harm may be:

Physical e.g. hitting, kicking, punching, shaking someone
Psychological e.g. threats of harm, being left alone, humiliation, intimidation or verbal abuse
Financial e.g. theft, fraud, pressure to hand over or sign over property or money, misuse of property or welfare benefits or preventing someone access to their money or possessions
Sexual e.g. any sexual activity that a person doesn’t want or doesn’t understand
Neglect e.g. failure to provide medical or physical care, access to a GP or other services, or denying someone medication, food or heating, privacy or dignity

Who may cause the harm?

Anyone can cause harm. They might be:

  • a stranger
  • a relative, husband/wife or partner, or friend
  • a carer, support worker, nurse or any other professional
  • someone you work with

Where can harm take place?

Harm can take place anywhere, e.g.:

  • at home
  • on a hospital ward
  • in a care home
  • in day care centre
  • at work
  • at any public or private places

What can I do?

If you are worried that you, or someone you know, is being harmed:

  • make sure the adult is safe
  • if immediate help is needed dial 999
  • listen, watch and record anything said or seen
  • tell someone

Who should I tell?

Moray Community Care Access Team

Tel. 01343 563999


Police Scotland

Tel. 101

Care Inspectorate

Tel. 01224 793870

Website :

What happens next?

The Council has a duty to investigate an alleged incident of harm. The investigation will be handled sensitively and the adult’s wishes will be taken into consideration. If the concerns are serious, the Council will act immediately to ensure the adult at risk is safe.

The adult can access advocacy services to ensure that their voice is heard and supported.

Contact Us

Moray Community Care Access Team
01343 563999

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