Who is at risk?
The Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014 states that an "adult at risk", is an adult who:
- is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect,
- has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs), and
- as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.
This definition may include a person who:
- has learning disabilities;
- has mental health problems, including dementia;
- is an older person with support/care needs;
- is physically frail or has a chronic illness;
- has a physical or sensory disability;
- misuses drugs or alcohol;
- has an autistic spectrum disorder.
A person's vulnerability will depend on his/her circumstances. There are many predisposing factors which may increase the likelihood of abuse occurring.
Some factors may increase vulnerability to abuse:
- Social isolation - those who are abused usually have fewer social contacts than those who are not abused.
- The person has an illness such as dementia which may affect his or her intellect, memory or physical functions and cause unpredictable psychological or physical behaviour.
- The person is compliant and may not know that they are being abused or exploited, eg, some people with learning disabilities.
- The person has communication difficulties as a result of hearing, visual or speech difficulties. They cannot disclose verbally.
- The person will not be believed if they disclose.
- The person has behavioural problems or major changes in personality which result in repetitive behaviour, wandering or aggression.
- The person demands or needs a level of care beyond the capacity of the carer.
If you have concerns about an adult at risk, you can report an adult at risk here.