In vulnerable adults who do not have the ability

In countries all
over the world, financial abuse of vulnerable adults is becoming an ever more
pressing issue. Many other countries have used various forms of methods in
order to tackle this problem, be it through legal frameworks or volunteer
services. This literature review shall focus on the legislation some countries
in Europe have applied in order to solve the issue.

Firstly,
take for example Scotland. Scotland has an Ault Support and Protection Act
written in 2007, with the purpose of catering to the needs as well as providing
protection to the people who are vulnerable. This legislation defines adults at
risk as people who are aged 16 or older who are unable to safeguard their own
wellbeing, property, rights or other interest, and are hence at risk of harm. They are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness or
physical or mental infirmity, and are more vulnerable to being harmed than
adults who are not so affected. The key features of this act include the fact
that it places a duty on local councils to inquire and investigate cases where
harm is known or suspected. These local councils also have the powers and
ability to visit and interview people, arrange medical examinations, examine
records, and issue protection orders. They must also consider if there is any
need for advocacy and other services, such as help with medication, or support
services. The abuse this act focuses on encompasses financial abuse of
vulnerable adults too.

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Another European
country that has taken a stance in an attempt to counter financial abuse of the
vulnerable ones in our society would be the United Kingdom. Even though the
country has no legal definition or specific legislation with regards to
financial abuse, the United Kingdom has 3 different Acts that are aimed at
protecting vulnerable adults from financial abuse.

The first Act is
the Mental Capacity Act. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 came into force in April
2007 with the motive of empowering and protecting vulnerable adults who do not
have the ability to make their own decisions, especially about things like
finance, social care, medical treatment and living arrangement. It protects the
interests of vulnerable adults who need to make important decisions. The Act
ensures that anyone making decisions on behalf
of another person must first consider if that person would be able to make
their own decision, without help.

Another act, the
Fraud Act 2006, has offenses that help protect vulnerable older adults from
financial abuse. This comes under the sections such as fraud by abuse of
position, where a person is guilty of fraud if he dishonestly abuses a position
he is expected to safeguard (such as lasting power of attorney or enduring
power of attorney), with the motive of making a gain or causing loss to
another. As many cases of financial abuse of vulnerable adults involves a
trusted family member or friend abusing a lasting power of attorney or enduring
power of attorney, these people will also be guilty of fraud.

 

Lastly, the UK
legislation also includes the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act. This act has
a barring scheme that protects vulnerable adults by preventing unsuitable
people from working with them. The scheme has a central vetting process which
bars people if they prove to present a risk of harm to children or vulnerable
adults.

With these various
measures in mind, the current Vulnerable Adults Act in Singapore can be amended
to ensure more protection for the vulnerable adults against financial
exploitation, as well as to discourage people from abusing these adults.

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