In the City of Dundee, as elsewhere, there are many individuals who require support in order to protect themselves from harm. Their difficulty in doing so may arise because of a disability, infirmity, or an illness, and as a result they may be at risk of physical, sexual, financial or emotional harm or neglect from those who provide services for them, members of the community, or even their own family members.
The need to provide support and protection to these individuals and to respond if there is an allegation or evidence of harm has long been evident. Just how seriously they may be harmed has become apparent through high profile cases reported in the media as well as research showing just how prevalent such harm is.
In response to this situation the Scottish Government has passed legislation aimed at improving the quality of support and protection given to individuals at risk of harm. The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 gives Social Work Departments new powers to respond to allegations of harm and to provide effective protection. The Act also aims to ensure that the many different agencies involved in adult support and protection – social work department, the police, the NHS, among others, cooperate fully in adult protection cases.
Among the provisions of the Act is the setting up of Adult Protection Committees throughout Scotland. These committees, including that in Dundee, are responsible for ensuring that the local authority, the police, the NHS and other key agencies such as the Care Commission, work together in an effective and co-ordinated manner to protect at-risk people from harm.
The Dundee Adult Protection Committee welcomes input from all citizens, not just those who are professionally involved. Individuals at risk of harm, their family, friends and advocates, should feel free to contact the Independent Convenor of the Dundee committee, Professor James Hogg, if they have any concerns related to protecting at-risk individuals from any kind of harm.