Protecting adults at risk in London: Good practice resource

Investigating adult abuse: Financial or material abuse - issues to consider

Financial abuse is a crime. It is the use of a person’s property, assets, income, funds or any resources without their informed consent or authorisation. As well as the examples of possible financial abuse of adults at risk by people in positions of authority or responsibility listed in Recognition and indicators of adult abuse, adults at risk might also be targeted more generally. For example:

If the adult at risk has been subjected to systematic theft or bank account fraud, it is important not to handle documents, bank books, wallets, envelopes, etc. This may destroy possible fingerprints or other evidence. Retain any letters, statements or other documentation together with any containers they have been stored in. Similarly, if property is stolen from cupboards, tins, etc. preserve these for detailed examination.

Be aware that investigating financial abuse often involves wider networking than people may be used to, including working with trading standards, finance officers, or the OPG, for example. Remember too that financial abuse may go hand-in-hand with other types of mistreatment, and there should be a holistic assessment of the person’s situation.

Reporting a crime

In an emergency you should phone 999 for an immediate police response (i.e. if a crime is happening now or if anyone is in immediate danger). Where the offence is remote from the victim, not immediate and/or the offender is unknown, the crime can be reported through normal police contact numbers or online at Action Fraud.