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Protecting vulnerable adults in Singapore: the creation of the Vulnerable Adults Act 2018

Jill Manthorpe (NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, The Policy Institute, King's College London, London, UK)
Joanne Liming Chen (Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 8 December 2020

Issue publication date: 23 February 2021




The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyse the development and content of the Vulnerable Adults Act 2018 (hereafter “the Act”) in Singapore. It reports the parliamentary processes and deliberations.


A synthesis of publicly available research, policy documents, parliamentary debate, media reports and commentary.


The paper sets the Act’s development and aims in Singapore’s social and legal contexts. It notes the interface with other legislation and the focus of the Act on community and family abuse and neglect.

Research limitations/implications

The paper suggests some areas for research including how the Act is used and its impact and also points to areas where the Act does not apply.

Practical implications

The paper outlines new professional powers and responsibilities and the role of government and community-based organisations.


This paper provides an early account of the genesis and aims of the new legislation, its powers and administration. Also, international comparisons are drawn.



This study was facilitated by the SR Nathan Visiting Professor funding from the National University of Singapore for JM to visit Singapore and engage with policy and practice stakeholders and also funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce: Ref. PR-PRU-1217–21002). The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National University of Singapore, or in England the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.


Manthorpe, J. and Chen, J.L. (2021), "Protecting vulnerable adults in Singapore: the creation of the Vulnerable Adults Act 2018", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 32-44.



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Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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