Mark Holt, Frenkel Topping

Frenkel Topping calls for better safeguarding of victims of financial abuse at London Deputy Day

MD of Frenkel Topping, Mark Holt, is calling for better protection of financial abuse victims following a statement made by Senior Judge of the Court of Protection HHJ Carolyn Hilder.

Referring to a report by Age UK, she revealed that there are more than 130,000 people in the UK over the age of 65 who have reported financial abuse,[1] and this figure is likely to be under-representative as many incidents go unreported.

Speaking at the annual London Deputy Day conference in May, HHJ Hilder said: “Between 60-80 percent of abuse takes place in a private home and 15-20 percent to a person living in residential care. Half of all perpetrators of financial abuse are family members and 31 percent paid care workers.

“Women are twice as likely as men to be victims of financial abuse, and people from ethnic minorities or with another first language are also more likely to fall into this category.” [2]

The Government has proposed landmark change to extend the legal definition of domestic violence to include economic abuse.

Frenkel Topping says this change can’t come soon enough. According to Paul Tregoning, deputy head of policy and practice at the Office of the Public Guardian, also speaking at Deputy Day; in 2018 alone, there were 14,172 applications to be a deputy – a person who takes on handling the financial affairs of people left incapable of doing so for themselves – and this figure is only set to grow as the population ages.

Mark Holt, managing director of Frenkel Topping said: “Poor management of power of attorney can do enormous damage. It is a powerful order because it gives a person the tools to asset strip and take ownership of a full life’s worth.

“Abuse can take many forms. It can force a person to be completely financially dependent on the perpetrator. Fundamentally, it’s possible to take ownership of a whole life’s worth.

“At Frenkel Topping we welcome the move to ratify financial abuse as a legal entity. Under the proposed new directive, the impact of economic abuse will be legally recognised as domestic abuse and can be reported as a crime.

“Legal guidance for prosecutors will be changed to ensure cases of economic abuse can be successfully prosecuted where appropriate.”

Frenkel Topping advises many of the UK’s leading law firms and barristers on settlements and investments for their clients and manages the finances of people who are unable to act for themselves following life-changing accident or personal injury, and therefore may be vulnerable to financial abuse.

London Deputy Day is an annual conference sponsored by Frenkel Topping, who provides independent financial legal guidance, financial planning and asset management advice to clients who have suffered a serious accident or personal injury. The conference has become an important event in the professional deputy calendar.

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