What is harm?

The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 introduces new measures to identify and protect adults who may be at risk of harm or neglect and who may not be able to protect themselves.

Physical harm

Slapping, punching, biting, hitting, shaking and kicking are all forms of physical harm. Read our stories for exampes of harm.

Psychological harm

Psychological harm includes being humiliated, intimidated, shouted at, threatened, bullied or constantly criticised. Read our stories for examples of harm.

It can also mean being controlled by someone, ignored or left alone.


Neglect involves denying medical or physical care, access to a doctor or other services. It could be denying someone medication, food or heating, privacy or dignity. Read our stories for examples of harm.

It can also mean self-neglect.

Financial harm

Financial harm can lead to someone feeling under pressure to hand over money or possessions. Read our stories for examples of harm.

It can involve 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.

Sexual harm

Sexual harm includes any sexual activity that a person doesn’t feel comfortable with, want or understand. Read our stories for examples of harm.

Who does it?

It could be anyone, including a relative, spouse or partner, friend, professional, neighbour or a stranger. Read our stories for examples of harm.

Where does harm happen?

Anywhere. It can happen in the family home, in a hospital ward, care home, day centre, at work or in public places.

There are many different types of harm.

The signs of harm