Adult Support and Protection Scotland: April 2019 to March 2022

This is the first release of annual Adult Support and Protection (ASP) data, in Scotland, and includes national data for financial years 2019/20 - 2021/22.

This document is part of a collection


Main client group

Here are the definitions for the main client group categories:

  1. Dementia - Global deterioration of intellectual functioning. Normally a progressive condition resulting in cognitive impairment ranging from some memory loss and confusion to complete dependence on others for all aspects of personal care. Exclude confusion due to other causes e.g. medicines, severe depression.
  2. Mental health problem - Mental health problems are characterised by one or more symptoms including: disturbance of mood (e.g. depression, anxiety), delusions, hallucinations, disorder of thought, sustained or repeated irrational behaviour. 
    1. Include: persons assessed as having mental health problems whether or not the symptoms are being controlled by medical treatment.
    2. Exclude: alcohol or drug related problems; dementia.
  3. Learning disability - A significant, lifelong condition which has three facets: Significant impairment of intellectual functioning resulting in a reduced ability to understand new or complex information; and
    1. significant impairment of adaptive/social functioning resulting in a reduced ability to cope independently; and
    2. which started before adulthood (before the age of 18) with a lasting effect on the individual’s development.
  4. Physical disability - Physical disabilities have many causes in chronic illness, accidents, and impaired function of the nervous system, which, in particular physical or social environments, result in long term difficulties in mobility, hand function, personal care, other physical activities, communication, and participation.
    1. Include: visual impairment (blindness or partial sightedness – unless problems resolved by spectacles or contact lenses), hearing impairment (profound or partial deafness and other difficulties in hearing – unless problems resolved by a hearing aid), severe epilepsy; limb loss; severe arthritis; diseases of the circulatory system (including heart disease); diseases of the central nervous system (e.g. strokes, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and paraplegia).
    2. Exclude: acquired brain injury – these clients should be classified under ‘other’. Problems arising from infirmity due to age – these clients should be recorded in the separate category.
  5. Substance misuse - any person who experiences social, psychological, physical, or legal problems related to intoxication and/or regular excessive consumption and/or dependence as a consequence of his/her use of alcohol or drugs or chemical substances.
  6. Problems arising from infirmity due to age.
  7. Other - Clients should be included in this client group if they do not fall under the other categories for example:
    1. Clients with HIV/AIDS.
    2. Clients with an acquired brain injury.
    3. Clients with multiple disabilities acquired after birth arising from damage to the brain through head injury, stroke, lack of oxygen, infection, or other causes. People with an acquired brain injury usually have a complex mixture of physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioural, disorders or difficulties. This may affect how the person perceives the world and their abilities to remember, concentrate, reason and judge. The person’s emotional state may be disturbed; personality, behaviour, communication and relationships are also frequently altered. Mobility, sensation, vision, hearing and balance, smell and taste, respiration, heartbeat, and bowel and bladder control may also be affected.

Type of harm

Here are the definitions for the main types of harm categories:

Physicial harm - slapping, punching, biting, hitting, shaking and kicking are all forms of physical harm.

Pyschological harm - Psychological harm by causing fear, alarm or distress; includes being humiliated, intimidated, shouted at, threatened, bullied or constantly criticised.

Neglect - Neglect involves denying medical or physical care, access to a doctor or other services. It could be denying someone medication, food or heating, privacy or dignity. It also includes self-neglect.

Financial harm - Unlawful conduct which appropriates or adversely affects property, rights or interests (for example: theft, fraud, embezzlement or extortion). It can involve exploitation of property or welfare benefits or stopping someone getting their money or possessions, stealing, cheating or fraud. Being under pressure to re-write a will. Financial harm can lead to someone feeling under pressure to hand over money or possessions.

Sexual harm - Sexual harm includes any sexual activity that a person doesn’t feel comfortable with, want or understand (source of definition).

Self harm - Self harm (also known as self injury or self mutilation) is the act of deliberately causing harm to oneself either by causing a physical injury, by putting oneself in dangerous situations and/or self neglect.


If you, or someone you know, is at risk of harm we would advise contacting your local authority by email or phone and share your concerns – you can do so anonymously. The matter will be dealt with sensitively and confidentially, and support given if needed. You will be able to find details of your local authority on the Getting Help page of the Act Against Harm website.


If you have any queries or feedback about this data release then please e-mail

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