- since 2019/20 there has been a 19% increase in the estimated number of referrals for adults at risk of harm. This equates to a population rate of about 8 referrals per 1,000 adults in 2019/20 rising to around 9 per 1,000 adults in 2021/22. COVID-19 may have impacted these trends.
- nationally, there is an estimated upward trend in further adult protection action being undertaken following a referral shown across the three year period for which data is available (rising from 42% in 2019/20 to 51% in 2021/22). COVID-19 may have impacted these trends.
- about 57% of investigations commenced were for women and 43% were for men, which equates to 1.4 per 1,000 adults and 1.1 per 1,000 adults respectively. These rates have been consistent over the last few years.
- while around 37% of investigations were for people aged 25-64 and about 18% of investigations were for people aged 85 and over, the population rates for those age groups were 0.7 and 7.5 per 1,000 adults respectively.
- of those subject to an investigation, when both age and gender are considered, women aged 85 and over had the highest population rate (around 8.4 investigations per 1,000 adults) with men aged over 85 having the second highest population rate (around 6.0 investigations per 1,000 adults).
- adults at risk of harm experience a wide range of underlying conditions including substance misuse, mental health problems, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and infirmity due to old age. “Mental health problem” (19%) and “Infirmity due to age” (18%) were the top primary client categories for people subject to ASP investigations in 2021/22. This is consistent with previous years. There are inconsistencies across local authorities in how client categories are defined, which has a direct impact on the consistency of data received nationally.
- most of the reported harm has consistently occurred in individuals’ own homes. Notably, the percentage of investigations relating to harm in individuals’ ‘Own home’ has increased from an estimated 51% in the two years previously, to 60% in 2021/22. ‘Care homes’ were the second most common location reported with 18% of those subject to investigation having this location of harm.
- physical harm was the most common type of reported harm, accounting for one quarter of those subject to adult protection investigation; the next most frequent type of harm reported was “financial” (19% in 2020/21 and 17% in 2021/22).
- the 2020/21 increase in the estimated proportion of people subject to an investigation related to self-harm was maintained in 2021/22 (11% in 2019/20, 14% in 2020/21 and 14% in 2021/22). There has also been an increase in ‘neglect’ being reported (15% in 2019/20, 14% in 2020/21 and 18% in 2021/22). There are inconsistencies across local authorities in how types of harm are defined, which has a direct impact on the consistency of data received nationally.
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 SWStat@gov.scot.
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