The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) invites members of the public to give their views on the draft Vulnerable Adults Bill. The public consultation will be hosted on the Government e-consultation portal, REACH (www.reach.gov.sg/VAA2016) from 27 July to 23 August 2016.
Singapore’s population is ageing rapidly. By 2030, there will be over 900,000 residents aged 65 and above, a fair number of whom would be single or have no children. Elderly who develop dementia may be unable to care for themselves. This is especially worrying for those who are living alone – this number is projected to increase from 35,000 in 2012 to 83,000 in 2030. Persons with disabilities are also living longer, and more are expected to outlive their parents. Frail elderly and aging persons with disabilities are especially vulnerable to abuse, neglect and self-neglect.
Family members serve as the first line of protection for vulnerable adults, and are supported by a network of community and social service agencies. The proposed Vulnerable Adults Bill allows the State to step in for high risk cases where state intervention is necessary to protect and ensure the safety of the vulnerable adult.
In drafting this Bill, MSF has studied how some overseas jurisdictions have addressed the issue of protection of vulnerable adults legislatively. These legislations include the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007, the Adult Protection Act (Nova Scotia, Canada) and the Welfare & Institutions Code (California, USA).
Proposed Features of the Draft Bill
Members of the public are invited to give their views on the following key aspects of the draft Bill:
- Key Definition and Guiding Principles: Definitions of key terms in the Act and the guiding principles underpinning the legislation.
- Empowering State intervention: Family members serve as the first line of protection for vulnerable adults, and are supported by a network of community and social service agencies. The proposed measures will allow the State to step in for high risk cases where state intervention is necessary to protect and ensure the safety of the vulnerable adult. The wishes of the vulnerable adult who has mental capacity to choose whether to accept assistance will be respected.
- Types of Court orders: The types of orders that may be granted by the Courts to protect and ensure the safety of a vulnerable adult, and who may apply.
- Places of safety: The designation of certain care facilities as places of temporary care and protection or long-term places of safety for vulnerable adults.
- Disclosure of confidential information to protect vulnerable adults: Disclosure and use of confidential information by multi-disciplinary case management teams which help review complex cases and develop appropriate care plans.
- Protection from personal liability: Protection of persons acting under the authority of the Act from legal liability if their actions were done with reasonable care and in good faith.
- Enhanced penalties: For certain offences in the Penal Code if the offence is committed against a vulnerable adult.
Please refer to www.reach.gov.sg/VAA2016 for the draft Bill, consultation paper, accompanying infographic, key definitions and Frequently Asked Questions.
All interested members of the public are requested to submit their comments on the draft Bill by 2359 hours on 23 August 2016 via the following channels:
- Email to: email@example.com
- Fax to: 6708 7138, or
- Post to:
Family Development Group
Ministry of Social and Family Development
20 Lengkok Bahru, #04-02