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Government seeks views on Vulnerable Adult Bill 2016

After the infamous case of Yang Yin came to light, of how he allegedly misappropriated money from a wealthy widow and the public furor that followed, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is holding a public consultation to get feedbacks from members of public about the protection of the elderly, especially for those who are living alone.

Singapore’s population is ageing rapidly. The country will be occupied by over than 900,000 residents aged 65 or more by the year of 2030 and most of them would be single or have no children, as many of those from new generations tend to stay single rather than to get married due to the high cost of living, expensive child education and lack of pressure from family to get married. The number of elderly who will be living alone is projected to increase from 35,000 in 2012 to 83,000 in 2030.

Elderly who develop dementia, a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning, may be unable to care for themselves.

According to the statistic, people with disabilities are also living longer, and more are expected to outlive their parents. Vulnerable elderly and aging persons with disabilities are especially vulnerable to abuse, neglect and self-neglect.

A network of community and social service agencies will support family members to protect vulnerable adults. The proposed Vulnerable Adult 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.

Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007, the Adult Protection Act (Nova Scotia, Canada), and the Welfare & Institution Code (California, USA) has been examined closely to learn how the jurisdictions have addressed the protection of vulnerable adults in legislation in drafting this bill.


This public consultation seeks your views on the following:

a. The key definitions and principles of the draft Vulnerable Adults Bill;
b. The proposed powers to be given to the State to protect vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect and self-neglect;
c. The proposed orders that the Courts may grant to protect and ensure the safety of a vulnerable adult, and parties who may apply for them;
d. The designation of places of temporary care and protection and places of safety for vulnerable adults;
e. The disclosure of confidential information for the purpose of protecting vulnerable adults;
f. The protection from personal liability for those involved in protecting the vulnerable adult; and
g. The enhancement of penalties in other laws for offences committed against vulnerable adults.

Please refer to the draft Vulnerable Adults Bill, accompanying infographic and list of definitions and Frequently Asked Questions.

MSF is holding a public consultation regarding the draft Bill. The public is invited to email their feedback to [email protected] by 2359 hours, 23 August 2016.