The experience of being protected

Fiona Sherwood‐Johnson, Beth Cross, Brigid Daniel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to discuss how adult support and protection (ASP) work might support or further damage an adult's strengths, skills and sense of self. There is a particular focus on adults who require some support with decision‐making.

Design/methodology/approach – Forum theatre and other creative techniques were used to discuss ASP with 42 people who access support. A range of advice for practitioners was generated, a portion of which is reported here. The research design was participatory, with ten people who access support being members of the research team.

Findings – ASP work can support or undermine an adult's strengths, skills and sense of self, depending on the way it is performed. Three inter‐locking themes are presented to illustrate this finding. First, participants thought it might be intimidating to be “singled out”, and wished to be understood in the context of their relationships. Second, ASP was thought likely to be experienced as a judgement on the person and their problem‐solving skills. Third, people wanted to be “really listened to” and acknowledged as a person with preferences and strengths.

Practical implications – It is important for practitioners to be mindful of the process of ASP work, as well as of its outcomes. Ways must be found to keep the person central, and to maintain and develop their strengths and sense of self.

Originality/value – The perspectives of adults actually or potentially affected by ASP have been under‐researched. This study adds substantially to the available evidence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-126
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Adult Protection
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • adult safeguarding
  • intellectual disability
  • learning difficulties
  • participation
  • inclusion
  • resilience
  • adults
  • disabilities
  • learning disabilities
  • social inclusion


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