With financial abuse a growing problem in Jersey, an awareness campaign is putting the issue in the spotlight.
Financial abuse can include someone controlling your spending, using your cash or property without permission or pressuring you to change your will.
Another example is being duped by people pretending to want a relationship, with abusers and scammers preying on the vulnerable, elderly or widowed - often via dating apps and websites.
Detective Constable Paul Otter says it can tear a whole family apart.
"With romance scams, the victim will be in love with the fraudster. So if you approach the victim and say 'this is what's actually happening. They are stealing your money', they won't believe you, which can be very hard on family and friends because they just pull away."
Perpatrators of financial abuse often enter their victims' lives by offering help or company, slowly building their target's trust by going above and beyond what they expect. The goal is to either gain access to their accounts or be written into their will.
Detective Constable Paul Otter says people should look out for a loved one who's changed their behaviour or is becoming isolated.
People may also give little detail about their abuser, avoiding questions and perhaps turning aggressive and paranoid.
"Quite commonly they (the victim) can pull away from close friends and family when a new person comes in. It is quite common of the fraudster or scammer to make them change their opinion of their close friends or family, so that they have that person all to themselves."
For Safeguarding Adults Week, we are being urged to watch for any signs and report any concerns.
"It's better to investigate this sort of crime early to see if there's any prevention we can do, rather than investigate it late when large amounts of money have been sent."
Signs of financial abuse can include:
o Unexplained money loss
o Inability to access or check bank accounts
o Changes in standards of living
o Unusual or inappropriate purchases in bank statements
o Isolation and withdrawal from friends and family
o Coercive behaviours
If you experience, suspect or see any signs of financial abuse, controlling or harmful behaviour help can be found here:
States of Jersey Police: 612612
Adult Safeguarding Team (single point of referral): 444440
Trading Standards: 448160
Throughout this week, islanders will be able to access information and advice regarding various issues relating to the protection of the vulnerable in our community.
Other topics include self-neglect. This is when someone is unable to look after themselves due to mental or physical health:
- Lack of self-care – neglect of personal hygiene, nutrition, hydration and/or health, thereby endangering safety and wellbeing;
- Lack of care of one’s environment – squalor, hoarding, and/or refusal of services that would mitigate the risk of harm. It can involve social isolation, substance misuse or mental health issues.
Self-neglect can also be a sign of underlying issues such as depression and dementia.
Anyone looking for help and advice on this subject can go along to the Central Market on Friday (24 November) between 10am-2pm to speak to safeguarding professionals.