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Safeguarding: Advocate Survey, SCIE Report

A4A is conducting a survey of Advocates focused on their involvement, training and confidence in tackling abuse and safeguarding. Meanwhile, SCIE's report Prevention in adult safeguarding shares findings from research, policy and practice on prevention in adult safeguarding and presents a wide range of approaches that can help prevent abuse.

We are seeking responses to our survey from individual paid or volunteer Advocates in England and Wales.

Recent exposés of systematic abuse in care settings, exemplified by the Winterbourne View case (see A4A's briefing) have brought the problem out into the public domain and raised serious questions about safeguarding. A4A wishes to explore Advocates' experience of abuse and safeguarding and the response of advocacy providers in order to inform our call for change to end this scandal.

We also have a specific project (the Advocacy and Financial Abuse Project), which aims to explore the role that independent advocacy can play in preventing financial abuse. It is a joint project with Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) and is funded to work across England by the Department of Health. The focus is on older people who lack capacity to manage their finances but includes younger adults in the same circumstances. The aim of the project is to ascertain the most appropriate methods of advocating for people in financial abuse situations and to develop a toolkit and good practice guidance for advocacy services working in this area. If you have questions about the Project or would like to send anonymised examples of case studies or policies on financial abuse, please contact Debbie Dixon at A4A or Angela Russell at AEA

To complete the survey click here. Closing date end September 2011

The SCIE report (click here to read it) contains a number of very interesting observations from an advocacy perspective:

  • One of the strongest messages from the engagement with non-professionals was that safeguarding must be built on empowerment _ on listening very carefully to the voices of individuals who are at risk, and those who have been harmed. Without empowerment, without people's voices, safeguarding did not work.(Department of Health (2009) 'Safeguarding adults: Report on the consultation on the review of No secrets,' London: Department of Health)
  • Advocacy can make a significant contribution to prevention of abuse through enabling adults at risk to become more aware of their rights and able to express their concerns.
  • Given the.....difficulties for people in accessing information and advice, advocacy assumes an important role in enabling people to know their rights and voice their concerns. CSCI found that people value advocacy support, but that as many as 58 per cent of local authorities inspected had noted shortfalls in advocacy provision.(Commission for Social Care Inspection report (2008b) 'Raising voices: Views on safeguarding adults,')
  • Kalaga and Kingston point to advocacy as one of the ways of supporting and protecting adult at risk.(Kalaga, H. and Kingston, P. (2007) 'A review of literature on effective interventions that prevent and respond to harm against adults')
  • Advocacy services may be preventative in that they can enable adult at risk to express themselves in potentially abusive, or actually abusive, situations. Equally, their presence in enabling people to express themselves in other situations (for example when their needs are being discussed or at times of transition) may contribute to building confidence more generally and hence be preventative.
  • In relation to the prevention of further abuse, Hester and Westmarland found that in the projects they evaluated advocacy was the main intervention used to support women following domestic violence. They suggest that advocacy can assist women to move towards self-advocacy and independence.(Hester, M. and Westmarland, N. (2005) 'Tackling domestic violence: Effective interventions and approaches', Home Office Research Study 290)
  • Staff education regarding residents' rights, care, safety, advocacy and abuse was noted by Payne and Fletcher following a survey in the US of 76 nursing home administrators/managers. (Payne, B.K. and Fletcher, L.B. (2005) 'Elder abuse in nursing homes: prevention and resolution strategies and barriers', Journal of Criminal Justice vol 33 no 2)
  • Kalaga and Kingston report the education of staff as a significant factor in preventing abuse and neglect in long-term care settings.(Kalaga, H. and Kingston, P. (2007), as above)
  • There is substantial support for the importance of including communication skills in training for staff to prevent abuse..... Ansello and O'Neill also propose that staff need training in communication skills in addition to the detection of abuse and neglect. (DeHart, D., Webb, J. and Cornman, C. (2009) 'Prevention of elder mistreatment in nursing homes: competencies for direct-care staff', 'Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect' vol 21 no 4)
  • Angus and Brailsford have produced a practice and assessment guide which outlines the skills needed by care workers to safeguard vulnerable older people in their care. The areas covered are: the legal framework for adult protection; definitions of harm, abuse and vulnerability; and using communication skills to prevent abuse. (Angus, A.D. and Brailsford, A. (2007) 'Using skills to prevent abusive ce', Chichester: Assess for Care, Healthcare A2Z)
  • Whistle blowing is an important mechanism for exposing abuse and neglect in care settings - procedures [need] to enable staff to whistle blow.(Kalaga, H. and Kingston, P. (2007) as above)
  • Community outreach [is identified] as one of four approaches to preventing elder abuse in nursing homes.(Payne, B.K. and Fletcher, L.B. (2005) as above)
  • There are also other useful comments about regulation, collaboration, empowerment and choice.

    Article published:2011-07-21

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