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Adult safeguarding in Northern Ireland: prevention, protection, partnership

Lorna Montgomery (Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK)
Joyce McKee (Health and Social Care Board, Belfast, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 14 August 2017




The purpose of this paper is to outline and critique the current model of adult safeguarding in Northern Ireland (NI).


The paper offers a critical analysis of adult safeguarding, legislation, policy and practice. Insights are offered from the Regional Adult Safeguarding Officer for NI, and available research evidence is cited.


Distinct features of Northern Irish society have shaped its adult safeguarding policy and practice in ways which differ from those in England, Scotland and Wales. The strengths and limitations of the legal and policy framework, and practice systems are discussed.

Research limitations/implications

The paper offers the viewpoint of the authors, which may not be representative.

Practical implications

The potential advantages and challenges of the Northern Irish safeguarding systems are presented, and potential future developments are highlighted.

Social implications

Changes have been highlighted in the way adult safeguarding has been conceptualised. An emphasis on prevention and early intervention activities, with a key role envisaged for community, voluntary and faith sector organisations, have been noted.


This paper provides an accessible overview of adult safeguarding in NI, which to date has been lacking from the literature.



Montgomery, L. and McKee, J. (2017), "Adult safeguarding in Northern Ireland: prevention, protection, partnership", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 199-208.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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