Implications of divergences in adult protection legislation

Lorna Montgomery, Janet Anand, Kathryn Mackay, Brian Taylor, Katherine C. Pearson, Colin M. Harper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose-The purpose of this paper is to explore 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 USA. Design/methodology/approach-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 focusses 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. Research limitations/implications-This review was undertaken in late 2013; while the authors have updated the mapping to take account of subsequent changes, some statutory guidance is not yet available. While the expertise of a group of experienced professionals in the field of adult safeguarding was utilized, 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/value-This paper provides an accessible discussion of APL across the UK and internationally which to date has been lacking from the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-160
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Adult Protection
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 13 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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