This commentary will use recent events in Cornwall to highlight the ongoing abuse of adults with learning disabilities in England. It will critically explore how two parallel policy agendas — namely, the promotion of choice and independence for adults with learning disabilities and the development of adult protection policies — have failed to connect, thus allowing abuse to continue to flourish. It will be argued that the abuse of people with learning disabilities can only be minimized by policies that reflect an understanding that choice and independence must necessarily be mediated by effective adult protection measures. Such protection needs to include not only an appropriate regulatory framework, access to justice and well-qualified staff, but also a more critical and reflective approach to the current orthodoxy that promotes choice and independence as the only acceptable goals for any person with a learning disability.
In order to ensure that the human rights of people with ID are upheld, neoliberal emphases on choice need to be tempered and a more nuanced and inclusive notion of personhood in relation to universal human rights needs to be adopted.
Purpose -This paper seeks to report some of the findings from an evaluation of adult safeguarding in one English local authority. The evaluation was commissioned in the context of concern regarding the number of safeguarding investigations that resulted in inconclusive outcomes.Design/methodology/approach -All adult social care teams in the local authority were asked to complete a short pro forma about the five most recent adult safeguarding alerts that they had managed to completion. Data collected included: characteristics of the alleged victim and alleged perpetrator; details of the professionals involved; whether or not a safeguarding plan meeting/case conference was held; and the outcome of any investigation. Respondents were also asked to comment on factors that they perceived to have helped or hindered the investigation.Findings -Findings suggest that a significant number of variables influence the likelihood of cases resulting in a conclusive outcome. These variables included not only the characteristics of alleged victims, but also elements of safeguarding practice -including inter-agency co-operation, social workers' pre-existing knowledge of the alleged victim, and the convening of safeguarding plan meetings. A failure to actively involve alleged victims in the safeguarding process was also noted.Research limitations/implications -This is a relatively small sample from a single local authority.Originality/value -This is the first study to provide qualitative evidence about the factors which influence the success or otherwise of adult safeguarding practice. The findings are likely to be of value to professionals working in adult safeguarding who are seeking to understand ''what works'' in managing investigations following safeguarding alerts.
The paper reports some of the findings of an exploratory study which looks at foster fathers' experiences of fostering and discusses their routes into foster care and their perspectives on their roles and tasks. The study collected quantitative and qualitative data by approaching all foster fathers registered with a single independent fostering agency based in southeast England. They were asked about their personal and
Increasing numbers of adults in the UK are living with acquired brain injury (ABI), with those affected requiring immediate medical care and longer-term rehabilitative and social care. Despite their social needs, limited attention has been paid to people with ABI within the social work literature and their needs are also often overlooked in policy and guidance. As a means of highlighting the challenge that ABI presents to statutory social work, this paper will start by outlining the common characteristics of ABI and consider the (limited) relevant policy guidance. The particular difficulties of reconciling the needs of people with ABI with the prevailing orthodoxies of personalisation will then be explored, with a particular focus on the mismatch between systems which rest on presumptions autonomy and the circumstances of individuals with ABI—typified by executive dysfunction and lack of insight into their own condition. Composite case studies, drawn from the first author's experiences as a case manager for individuals with ABI, will be used to illustrate the arguments being made. The paper will conclude by considering the knowledge and skills which social workers need in order to better support people with ABI.
This paper uses a framework of human rights to explore the high levels of bullying and abuse experienced by adults with learning disabilities. It will identify the different needs of people with different degrees of learning disability before moving on to focus on the particular needs of those with mild learning disabilities who are targeted within local communities. It goes on to suggest a need for a change in assessment practice, away from task-oriented functional assessments and towards assessments which pay greater attention to social abilities and community dynamics. In concluding, the authors argue that present policies and their underpinning principles are at times too dogmatic and call for a greater recognition of the diversity of needs and vulnerabilities which exist across the learning disability spectrum.
This paper contributes to the ongoing development of the theorisation of learning disability, focusing on the value of the ontological turn. We argue that while social theory has influenced understandings of disability within academia, particularly within disability studies, it has had a limited impact on the discursive and practical use of the term 'learning disability'. How 'learning disability' is constructed is of direct consequence to the lives of people with learning disabilities. Owing to this, we present a practical and representative ontology of learning disability in order to progress the ontological turn into everyday understandings of disability. To do this, disability theory is discussed, critically appraised and progressed. We then outline how this new theorisation could be re-contextualised within policy, with a view to further re-contextualisation into practice and the everyday. It is hoped that this paper will spark discussion regarding how the ontological turn can be used for change.
This paper reports some of the findings of an exploratory study which sought to better understand the demographics of forced marriage of people with learning disabilities and the contexts in which such marriages may occur. It was found that forced marriages of people with and without learning disabilities showed broad similarities in relation to ethnicity, some differences in terms of age and substantial differences in terms of gender. Men and women with learning disabilities are equally likely to be victims of forced marriage. The reasons for people with learning disabilities being forced to marry are most often associated with a desire on the part of families to secure permanent care, but can also be associated with cultural (mis)understandings of the nature of disability. These findings are contextualised by considering the relationship between forced marriage, human rights and learning disability.
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