The Scottish Government’s Seen something? Say something initiative has been set up to raise awareness of adults who may be at risk.
Councils will deal sensitively with any emails or calls they receive reporting possible harm to another person, health improvement minister Jamie Hepburn said.
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The harm may be physical, psychological or sexual, or come in the form of neglect or exploitation.
Adults at particular risk are those who cannot look after or stand up for themselves due to a physical or learning disability or their age.
There are an estimated 300 referrals relating to adult harm received across Scotland every week.
Mr Hepburn said: “It’s a sad fact that there are many adults in our society who are suffering at the hands of others. This could be physical harm, sexual abuse or financial exploitation.
“It could be neglect, psychological bullying, or taking advantage of a vulnerable person for your own advantage.
“It’s time that this suffering, which so often takes place in the shadows, came to an end. Through this campaign we are urging people to take action if they think an adult is being harmed.”
Detective Superintendent Willie Guild, of Police Scotland, said: “One particularly insidious type of harm is financial harm with people being exploited through a range of scams, as well as doorstep criminals such as bogus callers or rogue traders, putting pressure on people to hand over their money or belongings.
“However it is not always strangers who pose the risk to vulnerable members of our communities and it is not always easy to identify a person is being harmed.
“I would urge people if they are concerned about an adult who may be at risk of harm to act on their instincts by contacting their local authority.
“Alternatively contact Police Scotland on 101. We will act on calls we receive and together we will tackle adult harm and improve adult protection across Scotland.”
Contact details for Scotland’s local adult protection teams can be found at www.actagainstharm.org