Adult protection

Adult Protection LogoIs someone hurting you, or treating you badly?

Are you concerned about someone who may be at risk of harm or neglect?

Call the Adult Protection Phone Line on 01383 602200

Information in British Sign Language(BSL):

Deaf/Hard of Hearing people can contact the Police 24 hour SMS number in an emergency. If it is not an emergency – contact Fife Council’s SMS number (this service is available 8am-8pm).  Both these SMS services require the user to register. The SMS number will be sent to you upon registration.  Use the  Police SMS Registration Form and Fife Council SMS Registration Form to register.


Alternative Languages:  Adult Protection information is available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, English Easy Read, Polish and Urdu.


If you have concerns about a child, call Social Work on 01383 441177.

Harm information for People with Communication Difficulties was created with the help of people from West Fife Community Support Service, and the Communication for Health Project, and features Photosymbols and Change Picture Bank images.  For a paper copy, contact Shona McEwan on 03451 55 55 55 ext 442134.



If you thought a child was at risk of harm, you’d do something about it. It should be no different for an adult. If your instinct tells you something isn’t right, don’t keep it to yourself.  With one call to the Adult Protection Phone Line on 01383 602200, the situation you’re worried about will be checked out and support given, if needed. It may be nothing, but there’s no harm in being sure.  Above all, trust your instincts – if something feels wrong, say something.

What is adult protection?
All adults have a right to be safe and free from harm. However some people might find it more difficult to stop harm happening to them. Fife's Adult Protection Committee is a partnership between Fife Council Social Work Service, Police Scotland P Division and NHS Fife. The Committee aims to ensure the provision of support and protection to adults at risk of harm in Fife, enabling them to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives within their community.

What do I do if I am worried about someone who I think is being harmed?
If you are worried because you or someone you know is being harmed or suffering from neglect, you can telephone the Adult Protection Phone Line on 01383 602200.   If you are an organisation which provides care and support services to adults, you can report your concerns by concerns by following the Reporting Harm Protocol and filling out an Adult Cause for Concern Form.

Who are 'adults at risk?'
The Adult Support and Protection Act defines 'adults at risk' as individuals aged 16 years or over who:

  • are unable to protect themselves, their property, rights or other interests
  • are at risk of harm and
  • have a disability, mental illness, or physical or mental infirmity. 

What is the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act?
The Scottish Government introduced new legislation in Oct 2008 (Adult Support & Protection (Scotland) Act 2007) which provides the local authority with new powers to intervene to protect adults at risk of harm. The Act means that effective early intervention can be made where it is necessary, with the emphasis on preventing harm happening in the first place. An Easy Read version of the Act is available to download.

What will happen if I report harm?
Fife Council Social Work, NHS Fife and Police Scotland P Division are working in partnership to keep people safe from harm.  We have a duty to inquire and investigate cases where harm is known or suspected.  Staff will work closely with the adult at risk to decide together what action is best.  If appropriate, the family of the adult at risk will also be involved in the decision making.

What is harm?
Harm includes:

  • physical harm:  such as slapping, punching, biting, hitting, shaking and kicking.
  • psychological harm:  being humiliated, intimidated, shouted at, threatened, bullied or constantly criticised.  It can also mean being controlled by someone, ignored or left alone.
  • sexual harm:  any sexual activity that a person doesn't feel comfortable with, doesn't want or doesn't understand.
  • financial harm:  feeling under pressure to hand over money or possessions.  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.
  • neglect:  being denied food or heating, medication, privacy, dignity or personal care.
  • self-harm/self-neglect:  when you don't look after yourself or harm yourself

For more information, download the Adult Protection Leaflet or the Easy Read version.  A poster is also available for download.  All this information will be available in public buildings across Fife.  If your organisation requires further paper copies of the leaflet/poster, please get in touch with Shona McEwan at the details provided below.

Where can harm happen?
Harm can happen anywhere - in a person's own home, in a residential or nursing home, a hospital, day centre, at work or in a public place.

Who causes harm?
Anyone can cause harm.

What is financial harm?   
Visit our Financial Harm webpage for details and lots of downloadable resources.

What is the Fife Inter-agency Adult Protection Guidance?
These procedures support the safeguarding of adults at risk of harm and give guidance to staff as to what action to take if it is reported that an adult is at risk. Fife takes the protection of vulnerable adults extremely seriously and the guidelines give clarity to all staff involved in their care and the part they play in meeting the legislation. These procedures highlight the need for all agencies to work together to make sure that people in the community who are at risk of harm are appropriately supported.  The online version of the Guidance was updated in June 2014.


What is Information Sharing?

If in doubt, share.  Staff should not hesitate to share personal information in order to prevent harm.  If there are concerns relating to child or adult protection issues, the relevant organisational procedures must be follow.  The Information Sharing Leaflet and Easy Read Version and  Information Sharing Practitioner & Manager Guide give further details.


The Adult Protection Competency Framework  outlines key areas that services and agencies in Fife involved with adults at risk should consider, in respect of their learning and development needs.  Where gaps in learning are identified,  managers can help direct staff to consider the opportunities afforded by the Adult Protection Committee multi-agency training calendar, through their own service/agency internal training calendar and consider other ways in which identified needs can be met.

The Adult Support & Protection Act Code of Practice provides guidance about the performance of functions by councils and their officers, and other professionals.

Fife Adult Protection Committee's Biennial Report and Easy Read version detail the work of the APC between 2012-14 and Committee minutes are now available online.    All weblinked information is also available to download from the 'Publications' section of this page.

WithScotland supports adult protection and child protection practice, policy and research and provides information for the public and pracitioners.

Reports of harm should be made to the Adult Protection Phoneline on 01383 602200 or by phoning 999 if you feel you are in danger.

Adult Protection
Tel: 01383 602200
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