Safeguarding and best practice in services for adults with learning disabilities

Rachel Fyson Completed   2012


This project aimed to identify poor practices which people with learning disabilities commonly experience in residential care or supported living settings.


  • People with learning disabilities and family carers identified a range of poor practices which occur frequently in many residential care and supported living services. Most of the practices they identified were not clear-cut cases of abuse, but were poor practices which had a negative effect on their residents’ daily lives
  • Frontline care and support staff found it hard to define ‘abuse’ and tended define it in concrete terms (e.g. abuse is hitting or kicking someone)
  • Staff found it even harder to define ‘poor practice’
  • When presented with a range of real-life practice-based scenarios, frontline staff did not agree about what was acceptable practice, poor practice or abuse
  • Staff expressed confidence in their ability and willingness to report abuse, but this was belied by their lack of clarity regarding what constituted abuse
  • Staff said that they found it difficult to challenge colleagues’ poor practice. They were anxious that raising concerns about poor practice would lead to repercussions within the staff team.