Analysis of adult protection data can identify risk patterns for vulnerable adults with learning disabilities.


This study looked at the adult protection monitoring data collected by two local authorities comparing referrals for alleged sexual abuse to referrals for other types of abuse. The authors found that over 20% related to alleged sexual abuse, with 66% of these for women. Sexual abuse was confirmed in just over a 25%. They conclude that monitoring data can be used for risk management purposes and suggest that including detailed case characteristics would improve the identification of patterns of risk.

Patterns of Risk in Adult Protection Referrals for Sexual Abuse and People with Intellectual Disability, Cambridge, P. et al, in Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 24: 118–132

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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