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Participatory rights of older adults at risk in adult protection case conferences

Fennell, Kate



The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 (ASP Act) mandates public bodies to investigate situations of harm and to support and protect adults at risk. One of the fundamental principles of the legislation is to involve the person in the adult protection process. Older people are highly represented among those defined as adults at risk and have the right to participate in decisions about their lives. However, contextual factors can impact participatory parity, and participation can be tokenistic. Drawing on the author’s practice experience, this paper aims to explore the supports and barriers to meaningful participation in adult protection.

Based on practice during the first decade of the ASP Act, this paper uses amalgamated scenarios involving older adults at risk to illustrate some of the key themes emanating from literature.

Despite Human Rights Conventions and law promoting participatory principles, research evidence and practice experience suggests that ethical principles do not always translate to practice. Within adult protection case conferences (APCCs), participation is nuanced and multifaceted, involving individual and structural facilitators and impediments. APCCs can be inhospitable environments for the adult at risk. But they also have the potential to be collaborative and supportive spaces, promoting the person’s self esteem and agency. The author plans to conduct research with service users and practitioners exploring the extent to which APCCs can facilitate meaningful participation.

This paper contributes to the wider debate about the participatory rights of service users and the value of experiential knowledge.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 3, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 27, 2023
Publication Date Jul 28, 2023
Deposit Date Apr 26, 2023
Publicly Available Date Apr 26, 2023
Print ISSN 1466-8203
Electronic ISSN 2042-8669
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 3
Pages 132-142
Keywords Participation, Older people, Adult protection, Adult safeguarding, Adults at risk of harm, Adult support and protection, Adult protection case conferences


Participatory Rights Of Older Adults At Risk In Adult Protection Case Conferences (accepted version) (190 Kb)

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