Article

Discovery or Construction? Theorising the Roots of Adult Protection Policy and Practice

Citation

Sherwood-Johnson F (2016) Discovery or Construction? Theorising the Roots of Adult Protection Policy and Practice. Social Work Education, 35 (2), pp. 119-130. https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2015.1130804

Abstract
This paper outlines two models for understanding the roots of adult safeguarding/adult support and protection (ASP) policy and practice, and considers the strengths and limitations of each model in an educational context. The ‘discovery’ model understands ASP policy to be a response to a growing societal awareness of a phenomenon called ‘harm’ to ‘adults at risk’. It understands ASP practice to be triggered by the discovery of an instance of that phenomenon. The ‘construction’ model understands ASP policy to reflect a particular characterisation of the problem(s) at stake, contingent on particular historical, cultural and political influences. It understands ASP practice to be actively engaged in re-constructing ‘harm’, ‘adults at risk’ and ‘ASP’ itself. The discovery model is argued to be useful in delivering a clear, basic message to practitioners about harm and abuse, particularly where time and the potential for interaction in educational contexts are limited. The construction model is argued to be useful in connecting more deeply with practitioners’ lived experiences, promoting political engagement and developing professional judgement informed by ethical debate.

Keywords
Adult support and protection; adult safeguarding; abuse; neglect; training; theory; ontology; epistemology; constructionism; realism

Journal
Social Work Education: Volume 35, Issue 2

StatusPublished
Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online02/02/2016
Date accepted by journal07/12/2015
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/23186
PublisherTaylor and Francis
ISSN0261-5479