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The Office of the Public Guardian have recently published their updated safeguarding guidance and our Court of Protection team have created a useful summary below.

The policy lays out the steps the OPG will take to safeguard those with Attorneys, Deputies or who are the subject of one-off orders by the Court. Notably, the guidance has replaced the previous terminology of “vulnerable adults” with references to “clients” and “children or adults at risk”. This is to avoid connotations that some fault for the abuse is attributable to the victim of the abuse and for this reason, we think this is a welcome change as it avoids victim blaming.

Helpfully, the guidance sets out definitions for different categories of abuse and lists “red flags” which are indicators of financial abuse. Abuse includes physical, domestic, sexual, psychological, financial, modern slavery, discriminatory, organisational, neglect and self-neglect. In our role as Deputy or Attorney for Property and Finances, we have experience in spotting signs of financial abuse and know what to look out for. The OPG records more instances of financial abuse than any other type of abuse and outlines the following indicators as signs that financial abuse is taking place:

  1. Sudden changes to a Will or bank account
  2. Selling possessions
  3. Money being taken with consent
  4. Being unable to pay bills
  5. An unexplained lack of money
  6. A change in living conditions
  7. Being cut off from friends/family
  8. A carer/friend/family member having more money than usual to spend on their own clothes/travel/accommodation

We have helped many clients recover money that was stolen from them during incidents of financial abuse, and ensured they receive was taken from them. If you have any concerns about an adult at risk of the abuse categories set out above, our team are here to help and discuss your options. We can help you apply to the Court to replace a Deputy or revoke a Lasting Power of Attorney. Veronica Mullins is a Partner in our Private Client department and a Panel Deputy who is happy to be appointed as a Professional Deputy where you have concerns about an adult at risk. Contact us at or call us on 01484 821 500 and our team will advise you of the next steps with compassion and care at a convenient time for you.