Pritchard-Jones, LG (2018) ‘Adults at Risk’: ‘Vulnerability’ by Any Other Name? Journal of Adult Protection, 20 (1). pp. 47-58. ISSN 1466-8203

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Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to explore and critique the conceptual and terminological shift – particularly from ‘vulnerability’ to ‘adult at risk’ - in adult safeguarding under the Care Act 2014 and the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

Design/methodology/approach
The paper compares the notion of the vulnerable adult in safeguarding, with the notion of an adult at risk under the Care Act 2014 and the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and questions to what extent such a shift addresses existing criticisms of ‘vulnerability’.

Findings
The paper criticises the notion of the 'vulnerable adult' for perpetuating the stigma associated with an impairment or disability, and for the types of legal and policy responses deemed appropriate under such an understanding of vulnerability. While efforts to replace the term ‘vulnerable adult’ with ‘adult at risk’ are, to some extent, to be welcomed, ‘adult at risk’ under the legislation relies on the same characteristics for which the ‘vulnerable adult’ has been criticised. Nevertheless, the safeguarding provisions under the two Acts have made some strides forward in comparison to their legal and policy predecessors and the notion of the ‘vulnerable adult’.

Originality/value
This paper’s originality and value lie in its scrutiny of the notion of ‘vulnerability’ in adult safeguarding, in comparison to the newer terminology of an ‘adult at risk,’ whilst also suggesting that in important respects – in relation to the interventions deemed appropriate where an adult is perceived to be at risk – the two pieces of legislation are a marked improvement on their predecessors. It also offers some thoughts as to how criticisms of the new legislation may be overcome.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) will be available online via Emerald at https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/JAP-07-2017-0029 - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2017 16:19
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2018 09:09
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/4294

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