Most cases of financial abuse of older people involve ‘improper’ conduct and not criminal conduct. Nevertheless, where a criminal offence is suspected, as your client’s advocate you need to ensure they understand that what has been done to them is no less serious because the perpetrator is a family member and that criminal action is an option.
It may be a big step for your client to have spoken about these matters. They may be attempting to change a dynamic of ongoing abuse, so it is important that you acknowledge the seriousness of what they are communicating, help them feel that you can look after their interests, and give them the appropriate advice.
Possible criminal offences include:
- obtaining financial advantage by deception
- assault or the threat of assault.