Bridget Penhale (School of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of East Anglia, Norfolk, UK)
Margaret Flynn (Yygubor, Anglesey, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 8 February 2016



Penhale, B. and Flynn, M. (2016), "Editorial", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 18 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAP-12-2015-0036



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: The Journal of Adult Protection, Volume 18, Issue 1.

Bridget Penhale and Margaret Flynn

Welcome to the first issue of 2016! As always, reference to the news from recent months tells us a great deal about matters which safeguarding and complaints personnel are addressing on a daily basis: failure to pool what professionals know about individuals and households; the use of deception in relationships and marketing; alcohol abuse; the consequences of inequality and poverty; and extremist violence.

The inquests of Charlotte Bevan and her baby Zaani Tiana provided the backstory to the double tragedy of December 2014[1]. The inquest Coroner raised concerns about Charlotte's mental health care, most particularly during the latter part of her pregnancy. Charlotte had schizophrenia and depression and stopped taking her anti-psychotic medication so she could breastfeed. The Coroner concluded that it was the absence of a multi-agency meeting about her care and a post birth care plan which led to no one noticing her leaving hospital in Bristol with her baby daughter. “That chain of failures contributed to Charlotte's death. Zaani's death was contributed to by a chain of failures in her mother's care”.

The Metropolitan Police in London have acknowledged that officers acting undercover whilst seeking to infiltrate protest groups should not have entered into long-term sexual relationships[2]. Seven women were deceived into forming relationships with the officers – one of which lasted nine years. An assistant commissioner noted that “these relationships were a violation of the women's human rights, an abuse of police power which resulted in significant trauma relationships like these should never have happened. They were wrong and a gross violation of personal dignity and integrity”.

Deception played a critical role in the cult of 75-year-old Aravindan Balakrishnan[3]. He kept up to nine women, one of who was his daughter, in accommodation that was full of violence and horror. The women endured sexual assaults and beatings and believed his assertion that since he had god-like powers, disasters would occur if they disobeyed him.

The Institute of Alcohol Studies surveyed nearly 5,000 police officers, ambulance staff, NHS medics and firefighters[4]. It turns out that dealing with alcohol-related incidents is hazardous. At a time when alcohol takes a disproportionate share of emergency services time and resources, there is the ever-present fear of being attacked. Over half of the ambulance staff surveyed reported that they have been sexually harassed or assaulted by drunken patients.

Forget “promises to keep […]” – the Conservative Government's pre-election manifesto promise of last spring, to “strengthen corporate criminal law to ensure companies can be held liable for their actions” has been abandoned because “there was little evidence of corporate economic wrongdoing going unpunished”. Perhaps we have been too hard on bankers, Libor riggers, tax-evaders and insurance mis-sellers (and even some care home businesses) and do not understand the necessity of deregulation? Ditto the Law Commission, which criticised corporate liability laws four years ago as “inappropriate and inadequate”[5].

Extreme poverty is costly, both in the short term and also generationally as Edin and Shaefer's book shows. $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America is about the consequences of increasing inequality and decreasing security. It confirms that low-paid and unstable employment is not a route out of poverty. Global inequality is growing[6]. Research by Credit Suisse reveals that half of the world's wealth is in the hands of a mere 1 per cent of the population.

This issue of the journal contains a mixture of papers to provide food thought in relation to safeguarding. Our first paper, by Jarvis and colleagues considers the issue of emergency departments and safeguarding. Through audits undertaken in Health Trusts across a large Scottish Health Board, attention was paid to whether staff were identifying adults at risk. Although only one Health Board was sampled, the paper contains useful information about the need to support staff practice in recognising, identifying and responding to risk of harm.

The second paper, by Phillips, explores issues relating to the development of legislation in Wales. It is her view that a number of anomalies exist in emergent legislation. She is concerned institutional abuse is being overlooked and proposes that coherent approaches to safeguarding remain to be developed and followed through. The following paper, by Aylett reports findings from an analysis of the executive summaries of a sample of over 100 serious case reviews undertaken in England and Wales between 2000 and 2012. The paper maps the findings and recommendations of reviews and also identifies the principal themes and major lessons to be learnt. This will be of interest to those who work in this area and those who are tracking the development of Safeguarding Adults Review processes under the Care Act legislation.

The next paper, by Cummins concerns issues relating to policing and mental illness and looks at models of mental health triage that have recently developed and implemented within the context of policing. Some useful material is presented, which is likely to be further supplemented in future as systems develop in this area.

Stanley introduces a conceptual framework in the final full paper of this issue. It considers the pertinence of a signs of safety and well-being framework to assist in developing the Making Safeguarding Personal that has gathered momentum in England (see the JAP special issue of 2015 for further details about the programme). The framework has been developed in one local authority and aims to nurture person-centred and outcomes-focused practice. It is a significant paper which pays close attention to the activities of safeguarding practitioners. The issue concludes with a book review by Doherty, on the subject of Disability Hate Crime.

We hope that you enjoy reading this issue of the journal and that the papers will provide Ideas and useful information to shape practice. As ever, if you want to contribute to the journal, please contact one of the editors to discuss your ideas.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-34489740 (accessed 13 October 2015).

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/nov/20/met-police-apologise-women-had-relationships-with-undercover-officers (accessed 30 November 2015).

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-35007848 (accessed 8 December 2015).



www.credit-suisse.com/uk/en/about-us/responsibility/news-stories/articles/news-and-expertise/2015/10/en/global-wealth-in-2015-underlying-trends-remain-positive.html (accessed 11 December 2015)

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