Bridget Penhale (School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 20 October 2022

Issue publication date: 20 October 2022



Penhale, B. (2022), "Editorial", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 24 No. 3/4, pp. 129-131. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAP-08-2022-078



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Welcome to this issue of the Journal, appearing more than half-way through the year; in these globally crisis-laden and chaotic times, we might wonder if time itself has speeded up somewhat! In a slight departure from our previous practice of including items relating to safeguarding that have appeared in various types of media outlets, we are providing a couple of items that readers may not be aware of, although we know that those of us in the UK world of safeguarding may already know about, but that we wanted to draw to your attention.

We, therefore, begin this issue of the Journal with two pieces of information that may be of some interest to those readers who have been long-time supporters of the journal.

The first of these is some sad news about one of our regular contributors, Dr Martin Stevens, who died earlier this year, aged 57, following a short illness. Martin was a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHCR) Policy Research Unit in the Health and Social Care Workforce, based at King’s College, London. Martin joined the predecessor unit, the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, in 2004 and, for 18 years, was a key researcher within the unit’s team.

Martin’s first research post was with Hampshire Social Services Department, where he worked on community care, child protection and learning disability services. Following his undergraduate studies in philosophy (University of Southampton), he had worked for five years in a residential service for people with learning disabilities, an interest that stayed with him throughout his career. During this time, he also obtained an MSc in social research. He later completed his PhD (University of Portsmouth) on the topic of family group conferences.

Within the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, Martin developed his research expertise in adult safeguarding, personalisation and learning disability services. He was widely published in these fields and, with colleagues from the Unit, authored many papers that have appeared in JAP over the years. Amongst other roles that he held, Martin had chaired the UK Social Services Research Group and was also Chair of the Health Research Authority Social Care Research Ethics Committee for several years. Since 2019 he has also worked with the NIHCR Research Design Service (RDS), advising other researchers in the setting up of funded studies.

Martin led research projects funded by NIHCR School for Social Care Research SCR on risk and personal budgets and models of safeguarding and was part of the research team currently working on a study on hoarding and self-neglect. He had also latterly been working on mental health-related studies concerning professionals who use the Mental Health Act in their work.

Martin’s contributions to social care research and, more specifically, the world of adult safeguarding will endure as his legacy. He will be much missed by those of us who knew him and worked with him, but no doubt he will be frequently remembered as a key contributor to the field.

In happier news, one of our Editors, Margaret Flynn, was appointed in the Spring as the Chair of the National Mental Capacity Forum for England and Wales. This is a public appointment at the government level (the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice and Department of Health and Social Care) and was made following a competitive process. Many readers will be aware that Margaret has been a long-standing Editor of the Journal and has recently taken responsibility as Editor for Commissioning, which is an important developmental area for the journal. Our congratulations to Margaret for this prestigious national appointment and the continuation of her successful work in this area.

The first paper in this issue is a research paper by Laura Pritchard-Jones and colleagues about issues relating to the changes that happened within Adult Safeguarding practice in England because of the C-19 pandemic. The paper presents qualitative findings from a mixed-methods study that was carried out with front-line and managerial professionals working in safeguarding about their experiences of work in the relatively early stages of the pandemic. It reports on the results from semi-structured interviews together with a survey that was undertaken during the study. Themes identified by participants related to the day-to-day changes and challenges to the practice and relationships, including at the inter-agency level and issues relating to accessing and sharing information within the context of systems of remote working that were established at the time. Some of the ethical issues that arose within the context of adult safeguarding at that point were also raised and discussed. The paper contains some thought-provoking findings, perhaps especially for those readers who were working in adult safeguarding during this difficult and challenging period.

Our second paper is also a research paper by Jennifer Howard and colleagues from the USA and presents findings from a study that reviewed policy and research priorities at the federal level within the area of self-neglect. The study aimed to inform policy and research priorities about effective strategies to detect, prevent and address situations of self-neglect and consisted of a literature review followed by interviews with a small sample of national experts. The study established that whilst there were several approaches to the policy used in this area, there were gaps found in both the literature and evidence. In addition, significant challenges were identified in attempts to prevent, identify and address self-neglect. These included the lack of an agreed definition (at the national level), evidence from longitudinal studies and limited development or validation of screening tools that are used in relation to self-neglect. The paper recommends several areas that should be taken forward in policy initiatives, including the development of national-level data collection and reporting requirements.

The third paper in this issue is a further research paper on self-neglect, this time provided by Michael Preston-Shoot and colleagues. The paper aims to present an update on the core national dataset that was previously established of Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SARs) that concern situations of self-neglect. Data from the SARs obtained from local Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) websites added to the dataset was then analysed thematically, using the existing framework that had been developed. The paper contains information from two case studies in which practice had been informed previous SARs and the evidence base that is developing in relation to best practice. The thematic analysis indicated findings that were already familiar in this area, including the need for the practice evidence base to be further developed together with policy and practice to support practitioners working in this field. The case studies in the paper appear to be useful examples of what can be achieved in practice and serve as a prompt to those in roles connected to Safeguarding Adults Boards and SARs to consider the factors that might either facilitate or prevent the best practice in self-neglect.

The following paper is a conceptual paper by Chin Lay Gan and colleagues from Malaysia and considers issues relating to victimisation by phishing scams of younger Malay adults. The paper aims to develop an understanding of the influences of (criminal) offenders in this area that may affect the vulnerability levels of victims to cyber-attacks using phishing techniques. This is achieved through an adaptation of the Routine Activities Theory and Lifestyle Routine Activity Theory, combined with other literature concerning cybercrime, to cover cyber activities and attitudes to information sharing online by individuals who are susceptible to phishing and become (or are) victims. The use of such a Cyber Routine Activities Theory could be helpful in exploring the risk of victimisation from phishing attacks and may also help to develop an understanding of attitudes towards precautionary and protective behaviours, especially in relation to online information-sharing) to reduce risk(s) at the individual level. It might also be used or further developed to include other individuals who might be at risk from such forms of cybercrime, such as adults with disabilities or even older adults.

The final paper in this issue is a further conceptual paper that considers issues relating to intimate partner violence during the C-19 pandemic in the context of a comparison between two countries, South Africa and the USA. The paper by Errolyn Gordon and colleagues (from South Africa), provides a comparative analysis of the psycho- and socio-cultural impacts of the viral pandemic on victims/survivors of IPV in two (very) different countries. Through the use of a review of the literature and media-related items that appeared in both the USA and South Africa during the early phases of the crisis, the unique contexts and observations about how Presidents/governments dealt with (or failed to deal with) the issue of IPV within the broader issues relating to the pandemic, including the use of “Stay at Home” orders are explored. Within this, a key consideration of the social and psychological impacts on victims/survivors is usefully covered, and some interesting reflections are provided.

As stated in previous Editorials, we hope that you will find several items of interest in this issue and that some of these will be useful in both your safeguarding work and even in accord with more general interests. We are always interested to have contributions submitted for consideration, and as the current pandemic situation still looks likely to continue, we would like to invite readers to continue to contribute papers in relation to safeguarding and Covid-19, as well as other aspects of adult safeguarding. If you are interested in the possibility of contributing to the journal and wish to discuss this before working on a submission, please do get in touch with one of us to discuss further – our details are available on the front cover of the journal and are also found on the main landing page for the journal on the Emerald publishing website (under the tab provided for the Editorial team). Finally, we hope that everyone is continuing to stay safe and well during these uncertain and difficult times and look forward to providing further issues of the journal this year.

About the author

Bridget Penhale is based at the School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Related articles