Supporting Vulnerable Adults: Citizenship, Capacity, Choice

Supporting Vulnerable Adults: Citizenship, Capacity, Choice

Supporting Vulnerable Adults: Citizenship, Capacity, Choice

Supporting Vulnerable Adults: Citizenship, Capacity, Choice


Using the impact of the early implementation of the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 as a model, this book examines the theories of citizenship, capacity, and choice when supporting vulnerable adults. The main themes are the extent of the reach of the State and the appropriateness of this reach. The book includes a discussion of the tension between autonomy and protection and considers whether or not vulnerability impacts the human rights of individuals. The concepts of harm and abuse are explored, and key questions are asked and answered, such as: Does diminished intellectual capacity limit a person's rights as a citizen? Does vulnerability, and being at risk of harm or abuse, limit capacity? The book also looks at whether the introduction of such legislation compromises individuals' free will and choice. Supporting Vulnerable Adults is based around Scottish legislation and draws on the emerging results of empirical research undertaken by the author over the first two years following its implementation - the first of its kind in the UK. This provides a unique focus for the central debate on autonomy and protection and the link to citizenship and capacity. Supporting Vulnerable Adults provides an excellent overview of the tensions inherent in these policies, and it will be essential reading for students, health and social care workers, policy makers, and other practitioners whose work involves vulnerable individuals. (Series: Policy & Practice in Health and Social Care - No. 13)


After her death in 2001, a post-mortem found 49 injuries
on her body including cuts probably made by a razor
blade and cigarette burns. She had moved from sheltered
accommodation to her son-in-law's home – five weeks later
she was dead. But as the cause of Margaret Panting's death
could not be established, no one was ever charged. (House
of Commons, 2004)

It has, perhaps, always been somewhat frustrating for many of us in adult care that the perceived procedural clarity of child protection systems are not immediately translated into the protection of adults (Leslie and Pritchard, 2009). However, the right of adults to self-determination (Boyle et al, 2002) has, alongside other key issues, meant that the evolution of adult protection has had significant barriers to overcome – in particular the need to ensure that any protective procedures directed at adults did not compromise their human rights (e.g. Article 5 or Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights) or extend the state's right to intervene in the rights of adults. It has been increasingly important to acknowledge that, given the catalogue of examples of adults suffering abuse at the hands of others (such as Margaret Panting, above), there is a need to provide protective measures for adults when they could potentially be at risk from harm (Penhale and Parker, 2008). Within this lies the challenge of identifying just what we are protecting adults from as these definitions and thresholds are crucial to the implementation of any policy, guidance or legislation.

The scope of this book

Its principal aim is to examine the existing adult protection framework in the UK, using as a lens theories of citizenship, particularly as they may impact on issues of capacity and choice. The focus is . . .

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