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Adults for the most are seen by the law to have the right to make their own decisions about how they live their lives and taking 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.
Where an adult is not able to make decisions relating to their health and safety and where they are unable to give informed consent to having sex or spending their money, then the law can be used to enable others to make decisions for them, 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 been protected from abuse to the same extent as children and young people and children, the legislation relating to abuse relating to vulnerable adults has not always been cohesive or effective.
People are often reluctant to report abuse, especially where the abuser is a family member or friend, even when physical abuse, a criminal matter is occurring.
In such cases as an individual working with vulnerable adults you must be aware of the important pieces of legislation such as the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Legislation relating to safeguarding adults.