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