You probably already know that local authorities have a duty to safeguard vulnerable adults from abuse. Do you know that this includes financial exploitation, such as scams, fraud and doorstep crime?

West Yorkshire Trading Standards is on the case. Social Worker Tracey Ward is doing a secondment, working as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

The team will be working across West Yorkshire to investigate financial exploitation and abuse of vulnerable and older residents, in relation to scams, frauds and doorstep crime.

Tracey says:

“The Care Act 2014 placed a statutory duty on local authorities to safeguard our vulnerable adults from abuse and for the first time these types of crimes were specifically named as forms of financial abuse. Guidance instructs us to work together to protect people from these crimes and this is an innovative partnership to do just that. “

We know that social isolation and loneliness can be a major problem for the older generation or people who are ill or disabled. Being isolated can make people even more susceptible to becoming a victim of a scam.

“With pressure on local services, we believe that we need to focus on prevention and empowerment and tackle the root cause at neighbourhood level.”

Tracey believes that using a ‘conversational approach’ helps the team find out what is important to each individual. This means they can focus on how people can support themselves and each other. This supports the strength-based approach that Leeds has committed to.

Tracey explains:

“Most of the people I’ve come across so far want to spread the word and stop others becoming victims of this modern day scourge on society. There is a wealth of knowledge out there that could be utilised.”

Tracey won’t just be working with colleagues in Trading Standards to identify and support victims. She also aims to raise awareness within the council and third sector organisations and is developing training as needed. If you would like to know more please contact her. Call 0789 1279 828 or email [email protected]

For further information on scams or fraud, professionals can email Trading Standards for advice: [email protected]

The general public can speak to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Bureau on 03454 04 05 06.  They also have good advice on their website: