National Safeguarding Adults Week

Discover the charity making a difference to adult safeguarding

By Andrew Pirie

We speak to Deborah Kitson from the Ann Craft Trust; a national charity specialising in adult safeguarding. Last November, the charity launched its inaugural National Safeguarding Adults Week, a campaign designed to raise awareness of the different ways in which we can fully protect adults at risk. Deborah tells us more of the plans for this year’s week, as well as explaining how they work closely with social work teams to support safeguarding activities.

Can you tell us more about who the Ann Craft Trust is?

The Ann Craft Trust (ACT) was established in 1992 (previously NAPSAC) and is a national registered charity. It is committed to safeguarding young people and adults at risk of abuse. 

ACT responds to the needs and concerns of people working across and being supported by social care, health, education, and criminal justice by providing information and advice, peer support and networks. We also have a variety of publications including a quarterly bulletin, bibliographies, and books as well as training, seminars and conferences and research and awareness campaigns.

How does the Trust work with social services teams to increase safeguarding knowledge and improve practice?

ACT sits in the Centre for Social Work in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham and contributes to the teaching of social work students. 

The ACT offers a wide range of training and consultancy to the statutory, voluntary and independent sectors including local authorities, child and adult safeguarding boards and social care teams. Our range of training for them includes Safeguarding Awareness, Safeguarding for Managers, Mental Capacity Act, and DoLS, as well as additional courses on specific and topical issues such as online safety, cyberbullying and radicalisation. 

We were delighted when the Safeguarding Adult Board Network approached us and asked us to work in partnership with them on National Safeguarding Adults week this year.

ACT also responds to emails and phone calls requesting advice and guidance as required.

You’ve created a series of toolkits for practitioners to educate them on topical issues such as Domestic Abuse, Learning Disabilities, and Forced Marriage. Why is it so important that social workers continue to update their knowledge of these areas?

As exemplified by the Care Act 2014, it is important to address the diverse range of themes that come under the remit of safeguarding. ACT’s work looking at forced marriage and learning disabilities (the most recent being My Marriage, My Choice funded by the Forced Marriage Unit) aimed to raise the issue within the statutory and voluntary sector. Our work across safeguarding Boards previously had evidenced that this was not an issue that they were addressing or had considered. Statistics of people with learning disabilities and forced marriage have increased over the last five years and hopefully, due to the work of ACT and the University of Nottingham, this is now an area of work that is being addressed.

Domestic abuse is another issue that we are currently funded to look at and again we have been raising the issues relating to domestic abuse and young people with learning disabilities and the dearth of resources available to them. So, this work and our toolkits and research reports raise the issue and to some extent also offer the opportunity to campaign on behalf of these groups.

How can social workers gain access these toolkits and what kind of things can they expect to find in them?

ACT’s research reports and publications are all available and information about them and how to access them is on our website at anncrafttrust.org. They offer research findings and recommendations for best practice.

You’re doing a lot of work to safeguard adults within the sports sector and this has been funded by Sport England. Why is this such a growing area for concern and what should social workers be doing to protect the vulnerable adults they support?

Sport England has funded the Child Protection in Sport Unit for over fifteen years. They have become increasingly aware that adults also need to feel that they are participating in a safe environment and can report concerns with confidence.

Everyone involved in sport and activity, whether they are a volunteer, participant, spectator or an elite athlete, should never have to worry about abuse. 

Safeguarding in sport is the process of protecting children and adults from harm by providing a safe space in which to play sport and be active. Everyone has a role to play in keeping others safe and people should know what to do if they have any concerns. A key part of safeguarding is spreading the message about keeping people safe and building a culture of always acting in their best interests.

You launched the first ever National Safeguarding Adults Week. Why did you decide to spearhead this initiative and what activities took place?

We realised that many organisations across the UK put on their own safeguarding weeks throughout the year. Our aim was to create a time when we can all focus on safeguarding adults – because we want to be better, together. Throughout the week, national and regional activity safeguarding, sports organisations put on a range of activities to help spread awareness of certain safeguarding issues. Each day of the week focuses on a different theme, including disability hate crime, forced marriage, domestic abuse, online safety, and safeguarding adults in sport and activity. 

Will you be replicating the awareness week this year and if so, how can adult social work teams get involved?

National Safeguarding Adults Week 2019 takes place on 18-22 November. We’ve partnered with the SAB Manager Network and The University of Nottingham, and each day will focus on different issues. 

New themes for 2019 include self-neglect and modern slavery, and we will also revisit certain themes from last year, including disability hate crime, financial abuse, forced marriage, and safeguarding adults in sport and activity. There are many ways adult social work teams across the UK can get involved. You can find many suggestions by simply visiting our website.

If you’d like to get involved in the National Adult Safeguarding Week 2019, visit anncrafttrust.org