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Social workers’ perceptions of restorative approaches with families in cases of elder abuse: a qualitative study

Carole Anne Kirk (Department of Social Services Learning and Development, Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Antrim, UK)
Campbell Killick (Department of Social Work, University of Ulster, Belfast, UK)
Anne McAllister (Department of Social Services Learning and Development, Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Antrim, UK)
Brian Taylor (University of Ulster, Belfast, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 23 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore professional perspectives on restorative approaches with families in elder abuse cases.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were gathered from 37 social workers in statutory and voluntary organisations through nine focus group sessions in one region of Northern Ireland. A thematic analysis was undertaken and themes were derived from the data using NVivo software.

Findings

This paper reports main findings under the themes of engaging families and service users; managing risk in working with families in adult safeguarding; and challenges for professionals in practice. A key finding was that professionals felt challenged personally and professionally in managing the risks and working with families in these highly complex cases.

Originality/value

Investigative approaches have their limitations in relation to adult abuse situations. This study adds to the existing knowledge base, identifies potential practice developments and discusses the challenges in adopting restorative approaches with families in elder abuse cases. The study highlights the need for further specialist training. Managers should consider the creation of specialist teams with a focus on alternative or restorative approaches with families.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the management and staff of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and Women’s Aid (County Antrim, NI) who supported this project and would like to extend particular thanks to the participants from both organisations who took part in the focus groups.

Citation

Kirk, C.A., Killick, C., McAllister, A. and Taylor, B. (2019), "Social workers’ perceptions of restorative approaches with families in cases of elder abuse: a qualitative study", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 190-200. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAP-12-2018-0029

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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