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Publication - Dr Jennifer Collins

    Financial Abuse of Older Persons

    A Criminal Law Perspective


    Collins, J, 2017, ‘Financial Abuse of Older Persons: A Criminal Law Perspective’. in: Ageing, Gender and Family Law. Routledge


    Of growing concern is financial abuse of older persons, especially but not exclusively, by family members. This form of wrongdoing may merit a response in civil law (see Brammer, this volume). This chapter considers the role of the criminal law in England and Wales in regulating this form of wrongdoing. It argues that there are overlooked limitations in using the criminal law to address financial abuse of older persons. First, there is a lack of clarity as to what financial abuse of older persons amounts to within a wider category of elder abuse. As such, the wrong is remarkably difficult to reconcile with criminalisation principles. Second, an impulse to criminalise this form of wrongdoing must be weighed against the point that criminalisation is a blunt instrument. I therefore examine an alternative approach, appraising whether there is scope to interpret fraud by abuse of position in a vulnerable person-protective mode. This is an argument for levelling up protection for vulnerable persons generally rather than for older persons specifically.

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