Implications of divergences in adult protection legislation

Lorna Montgomery, Janet Carter Anand, Kathryn Mackay, Brian J Taylor, Katherine Pearson, Colin Harper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose -This study explores the similarities and differences of legal responses to older adults who may be at risk of harm or abuse in the UK, Ireland, Australia and the United States (US). Design -The authors draw upon a review of elder abuse and adult protection undertaken on behalf of the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland. This paper focuses on the desk top mapping of the different legal approaches and draws upon wider literature to frame the discussion of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the different legal responses. Findings- Arguments exist both for and against each legal approach. Differences in defining the scope and powers of Adult Protection Legislation in the UK and internationally are highlighted. Limitations-This review was undertaken in late 2013; whilst the authors have updated the mapping to take account of subsequent changes, some statutory guidance is not yet available. Whilst the expertise of a group of experienced professionals in the field of adult safeguarding was utilised, it was not feasible to employ a formal survey or consensus model.Practical implications-Some countries have already introduced APL and others are considering doing so. The potential advantages and challenges of introducing APL are highlighted.Social implications -The introduction of legislation may give professionals increased powers to prevent and reduce abuse of adults, but this would also change the dynamic of relationships within families and between families and professionals.Originality-This paper provides an accessible discussion of APL across the UK and internationally which to date has been lacking from the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-160
JournalJournal of Adult Protection
Issue number3
Early online date28 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished online - 28 Apr 2016


  • Adult at risk
  • adult protection
  • elder abuse
  • legislation
  • Northern Ireland
  • social work


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