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Most adults are seen by the law to have the right to make their own decisions about how they live their lives and take responsibility for their own actions, however, there are some circumstances when the law can intervene, either through the criminal justice system, if a crime is suspected or committed, or through legislation that exists to protect vulnerable adults.

If an adult is unable to make decisions relating to their health and safety or is unable  give informed consent to these decisions, the law can be used to enable others to make decisions on their behalf, an example would be the Mental Capacity Act 2005

People should have the right to do as they choose, however at times this needs to be weighed against their right to be protected from harm.

Vulnerable adults have not always been protected from abuse to the same extent as children and young people, the legislation relating to abuse of vulnerable adults not always being cohesive or effective.
People are often reluctant to report abuse, especially where the abuser is a family member or friend, even if the abuse is physical and a criminal matter is occurring.

Individuals working with vulnerable adults must be aware of the important pieces of legislation such as the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Legislation relating to Safeguarding Adults.