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See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil? Underreporting of abuse in care homes

Steve Moore (Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Dudley, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 12 December 2016

870

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present some of the findings from an empirical, mixed methods research project that reveal underreporting and active concealment of abuse in private sector care homes.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 36 care home personnel. An anonymously completed questionnaire was also used concurrently among newly appointed staff in newly opened care homes, to elicit additional quantitative and qualitative data.

Findings

A significant number of respondents reported awareness of acts of abuse that had not been reported within the care home or externally to the authorities. Some respondents were aware that where occurrences of abuse had been reported, no subsequent action was taken, and external authorities were not always involved in responses to abuse. A significant number of respondents were aware of deliberate strategies used to deter reports of abuse to external agencies.

Research limitations/implications

Though the research draws upon the experiences of only 36 care home personnel through interviews, and 94 questionnaire respondents who had witnessed occurrences of abuse, data suggest that a significant proportion of abuse in care homes remains unreported.

Originality/value

The research has revealed staffs’ experiences of underreporting of abuse in private sector care homes. Findings indicate that changes are required to current methods of scrutiny of occurrences of abuse in care homes and the strengthening of incentives to report it.

Keywords

Citation

Moore, S. (2016), "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil? Underreporting of abuse in care homes", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 303-317. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAP-07-2016-0014

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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