Financial Abuse 

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse is an umbrella term which describes types of mistreatment where someone forcibly controls another person’s money and/ or financial assets. Usually, but not always, that person will be a relative or close friend of the victim.

Financial abuse has been defined by the Department of Health in their guidance issued to local authorities on safeguarding as:

‘financial or material abuse, including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits’

Studies which have been conducted have shown that financial abuse is the second most prevalent type of mistreatment after neglect.pound sign

Older people, particularly people with dementia, are among those at greatest risk of financial abuse. Indications are that 60–80 per cent of financial abuse against older people takes place in the home and 15–20 per cent in residential care (Help the Aged 2008).

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has published a report entitled Commissioning Care Homes: Common Safeguarding Challenges which includes an element on financial abuse. The report is designed for social workers and care givers to highlight the signs of financial abuse and tips on how to prevent it or stop it from continuing.

But if you suspect financial abuse, what are the options available to victims?

The answer to this question is not always straightforward. It may depend on whether the suspected financial abuse has already taken place, or whether you anticipate it may take place and want to take steps to prevent it. The options will also vary depending on whether the victim of the financial abuse has capacity to give instructions to a solicitor.

If you suspect a criminal offence has taken place, you should always report this matter to the police who can investigate matters further.

For more information and guidance, the following links may be useful;

  1. A Safeguarding Strategy for Recognising, Preventing and Dealing with the Abuse of Older and Vulnerable People, Solicitors For the Elderly;
  2. The Law Society Practice Note on Financial Abuse;
  3. The Law Society article ‘Taking Advantage’;
  4. Office of the Public Guardian, Safeguarding Policy (May 2013).

What our clients say:

  • The case concluded as hoped.  I was at all times treated with courtesy, consideration and empathy by Sarah Young who was at all times professional yet approachable in all matters relating to a very complex case. I personally thank her on behalf of myself and children for the way she conducted my case which brought great relief and a most satisfactory conclusion and will help us move forward.

  • I can’t thank you enough for the way the claim was handled. After being in the accident, the thought of making a claim seemed like a lengthy and quite daunting procedure to take on, but you were really helpful and communication was brilliant throughout the whole thing. There was never a point where I felt confused or left in the dark about anything that was unfolding with the claim and the way you handled things was amazing! A cyclist who was involved in an accident with a motorist.  Samantha Hirst at Ridley and Hall successfully negotiated a settlement with the motorist’s insurance company.

  • My claim was handled very professionally and dealt with really well and quickly on Sam’s part I appreciate all that Sam and the team did.

  • My first meeting with Sarah  Young was really great. She seemed to care about my situation and gave good advice on what we should expect throughout our case. My case has now come to an end thanks to Sarah. I would highly recommend her services to others in similar situations.

    Wednesday 22nd June 2016

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