How To: Spot Financial Abuse


The publication of The Office of the Public Guardian's (OPG) brand new safeguarding policy has brought to light the fact that financial abuse is the most recorded type of abuse in the UK.


With the Care Act that came into force on 1st April 2015, this new legislation introduces duties for local authorities to protect "adults at risk" from all types of abuse.

If an individual lacks the capacity to make a decision, within the framework of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Care Act 2014, it is necessary for the relevant authorities to take the lead in helping the individual in their care. This includes considering what decisions should be made in that person’s best interests – especially where financial abuse is involved.

What is Financial Abuse?

Abuse, whether that’s emotional, physical, sexual, or financial can lead to the violation of human and civil rights. It can happen at any time, usually to an "adult at risk". Financial abuse specifically, is where an individual is persuaded or coerced into financial situations that they have not, or cannot consent to.

Things to Look Out For

OPG suggests that if you suspect that someone you know, whether that's family or a friend, is a victim of financial abuse, there are many signs to keep an eye out for:

  • If the person starts to unexpectedly be unable to pay for things (bills, clothing, food, etc.)
  • Selling things at low prices for quick cash
  • Sudden changes in a bank account such as access, how it's used, or new users being authorised to use it
  • Money being taken or going missing without explanation
  • Being cut off from friends and family socially because of money issues

Simpson Millar Can Help

If you think someone at risk is a victim of financial abuse, Simpson Millar's expert Court of Protection team can help by discussing every option available on a confidential basis. We don't confuse you with jargon – we just provide excellent, straightforward legal advice so you can move forward with your case.

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