The Newcastle Safeguarding Adults Board are today launching guidance on identifying, preventing and responding to financial abuse.
Financial abuse can be wide-ranging and complex. It can be difficult to identify and knowing where to go for help might be confusing for both the person at risk and those supporting them. The guidance aims to help with this.
This guidance is primarily in relation to adults with care and support needs and is intended to complement the over-arching Newcastle Safeguarding Adults Board multi-agency safeguarding adults policy and procedures. However, many of the services, support and information detailed are universal and are available to all adults.
Over the last five years, financial abuse has accounted for between 16-19% of all Section 42 enquiries[i] undertaken in Newcastle. Financial abuse can have a serious impact upon a person, not only on their money or property but also on their overall wellbeing, physical and mental health.
The guidance was developed by a multi-agency group of practitioners from Newcastle who drew upon existing publications, specifically those produced by Gateshead Safeguarding Adults Board, Solihull Safeguarding Adults Board and East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board[ii].
Key points from the guidance
- Financial abuse includes having money, property, benefits or possessions stolen or misused; being defrauded or scammed.
- There are many different signs and indicators, and lots of professionals will have the opportunity to identify it, not just those working with people’s finances.
- Being aware of some of the risk factors can assist practitioners in taking proactive steps to prevent financial abuse occurring.
- Finances can be a sensitive and private topic but practitioners should try to talk to the person about concerns and what they want to happen next.
- We should be empowering and enabling people to use and manage their own finances and property safely. There are lots of services and support available. The guidance includes a service directory of local and national services and support.
- Responding to financial abuse might involve taking immediate action to keep someone or their finances safe.
- Safeguarding adults procedures can be used where the person who is experiencing or at risk of financial abuse is an adult at risk.
[i] A Section 42 Enquiry is a statutory multi-agency enquiry when the following criteria are met: an adult is aged 18 or over; and has needs for care and support (whether or not those needs are being met); and is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect; and as a result of those needs is unable to protect him or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.