Chapters 1, 3 and 5 available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND license.
Safeguarding adults at risk of abuse or neglect is a core area of social work practice but knowledge of how social workers make adult safeguarding decisions is limited.
Applying recent sociological and ethnographic research to this area for the first time, this book considers how adult safeguarding practice is developing, with a focus on risk management. The author explores how social workers conduct safeguarding adults assessments, work with multiple agencies and involve service users in risk decisions. The book is essential reading for those wishing to understand how risk and uncertainty are managed within frontline adult social work and how current practice can be improved.
This chapter concludes by identifying how the findings relate to previous academic work on social work and risk. The chapter revisits some of the key arguments about social work and risk and uses the framework of risk work to give a more nuanced account of how risk knowledge, interventions and social relations affect adult safeguarding practice. The chapter ends by setting out policy and practice recommendations.
This chapter provides social workers’ accounts of doing adult safeguarding work with service users, family carers and paid carers. It highlights social workers’ understanding and use of risk assessment tools and shows how these were used to document who should take responsibility for measuring and monitoring risks. Social workers indicated the need to ensure service users’ immediate safety when doing adult safeguarding work. They also highlighted difficulties with engaging service users in safeguarding work and conducting this work in the time available. Key aspects of working with service users are highlighted, including explaining adult safeguarding, enabling risk taking, assessing what is important to the person and educating the person about abuse and neglect. Approaches to family carers are described, with social workers emphasising supportive or assertive approaches. Finally, the chapter focuses on how social workers engaged with paid carers in the community or in care homes, showing that safeguarding approaches were predominantly enforced through compliance with paperwork.
This chapter sets out the case for exploring how social workers understand and manage risk and uncertainty when doing adult safeguarding work. It provides a brief overview of safeguarding duties under the Care Act 2014 and related policy, and explains how the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is relevant. The chapter also describes the ethnographic research methods used in the study and provides details about the social workers and local authorities taking part in the research.
This chapter builds on the findings from Chapter 3, which established that new legal criteria under the Care Act 2014 and related policies were used as the central source of risk knowledge. It highlights the tensions which emerged when social workers attempted to apply this knowledge in practice. Austerity policies were seen as an impediment to safeguarding services being delivered well. The chapter highlights social workers’ views that safeguarding had become ‘the last stop’ and that blockages within local authorities reduced the efficiency of services. It also shows that social relations with other professionals were limited in the context of austerity and that safeguarding principles were reframed by social workers to provide a safeguarding service within funding constraints.
This chapter considers how adult safeguarding has come to be viewed as an issue needing a policy response. Drawing on theory from social policy, the chapter shows how, over recent decades, adult abuse and neglect have come to be viewed as a social problem. Beginning in the 1960s, the chapter charts campaigns by members of the public and professional groups and explains how current safeguarding laws and policies in England evolved.
This chapter reports on how referrals and assessments were managed by social workers in the three local authorities in the study. It identifies how new legal criteria under the Care Act 2014 and related policies were used as the central source of risk knowledge. The chapter also describes the two intervention models used by the local authorities. The use of information and communications technology is discussed, highlighting that these systems were used both to retrieve risk knowledge and to organise interventions. The chapter also shows that where tensions between professional values existed, professional discretion and team culture were used to supplement or override existing systems. Finally, the chapter shows how social relations between social workers and other professional groups were managed when conducting safeguarding enquiries. It highlights a dominant concern among social workers about ‘inappropriate referrals’ and reports a divergence of opinion as to whether local authorities should be encouraging or discouraging other agencies to make safeguarding referrals.
This chapter introduces sociological theories of risk and uncertainty. It sets out Beck’s theory of risk society as well as the literature on governmentality, cultural theories of risk, and risk work. Key themes around risk and uncertainty from the social work literature are also introduced. Using the framework of risk work, the chapter reviews what current research tells us about how social workers manage risk and uncertainty.
We begin this chapter with a critical account of attachment theory and then consider how neuroscientific knowledge is furthering, or in some cases limiting, our understanding of these theories. We briefly explore the relationship between attachment and childhood adversity and consider the question: does one lead to the other? We then explore what we know about the effect of poor and potentially damaging childhood experiences and consider the brain research in this area. We look at the areas of the brain that have been most fully researched: predominantly the amygdala, the hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Lastly, we look at the work that has taken place to investigate the plight of Romanian orphans, victims of the ill-fated Ceauşescu regime of the period 1965–1989.
The concept of attachment was developed in the 1950s by several researchers, although it is usually credited primarily to the psychologist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby. The work of Bowlby, alongside his colleague Mary Ainsworth in the United Kingdom and Harry Harlow in the United States, fundamentally and irrevocably changed our understanding of the relationship between infants and parents. Bowlby presented evidence from studies of both humans and animals to demonstrate his theory, including Konrad Lorenz’s work on imprinting and Harry Harlow’s work with Rhesus monkeys. This latter work showed, for example, that young monkeys separated from their mother will prefer to cling to a cloth-covered wire doll rather than a bare wire doll, even if it is the bare wire doll that provides them with milk.
This bestselling textbook provides social science students with an accessible introduction to neuroscience and the implications for our understandings of child development, considering the links between brain development and social and cultural issues.
Now covering the 0-18+ age range, the new edition critically analyses the relationship between children and young people’s thoughts, behaviours and feelings and the ways in which their developing brains are structured. It includes a new section on emotional development in adolescence, considering the impact of drugs and alcohol on the brain and the role of brain changes in driving risky behaviours.
Assuming no prior knowledge of the subject, the text connects the latest scientific knowledge to the practice of understanding and working with children. Incorporating the latest research and debate throughout, the book offers students and practitioners working with children:
case studies showing how brain science is changing practice;
a companion website including self-test questions;
end-of-chapter summaries, further reading and questions to test knowledge;