COVID-19 resources

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Destitution in the UK 2020

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

This report examines the scale and nature of destitution in the UK, updating similar studies undertaken in 2015 and 2017. It is based on in-depth case studies on destitution in 18 locations, including a user survey of 113 crisis services and in-depth interviews with 70 destitute respondents. The user survey was conducted in autumn 2019, and captured the scale of destitution in the UK before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK in early 2020. The qualitative interviews, undertaken in spring 2020, enabled in-depth exploration of the experiences of destitute households during the UK lockdown that started in March 2020. The report estimates that more than a million households were destitute in the UK at some point in 2019, with these households containing 2.4 million people, of whom 550,000 were children. There was a significant increase in the number of destitute households over the two-and-half years between the 2017 and 2019 surveys. There were also signs of a growing intensity of destitution for some, with more households experiencing both multiple deprivation of essentials and a very low income, and more households with zero income or less than £70 a week. Chapters cover: the scale and distribution of destitution in the UK in 2019; the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on UK nationals with experience of destitution; the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on migrants with experience of destitution; and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on people with ‘complex needs’ with experience of destitution.

Last updated on hub: 10 December 2020

Measuring and mitigating child hunger in the UK

Social Market Foundation

Food insecurity, and particularly child hunger, has been a source of growing social and political concern for the best part of a decade. There are fears that COVID-19, and the economic shutdowns brought in its wake, will make it even worse. This report provides initial findings on the level of food insecurity in the UK, as well as the impact of the pandemic. It is based on a survey of 1,000 parents, the report finds that: levels of child food insecurity in the UK are high – one in four children, 3 million in total, have faced some form of food deprivation in the six months following lockdown; children in families hit worst by the pandemic have suffered most – very low food security is more common and rose significantly for children with parents working in hospitality and leisure, retail and construction, all sectors badly hit by economic shutdown; existing support schemes appear to have made a difference, but have not been adequate to address the problem – reported usage of food banks rose from 8% before the crisis to 11% since, but reported take-up of free school meals went down slightly from 22% to 20%. The study also modelled levels of very low child food security by local authority, producing a national ‘heatmap’. It finds that rates are highest in London, where just under one in five (19%) of children face very low food security, as well as in the South West. In fact, the top three local authorities for estimated child food insecurity are in the East of the capital: Redbridge (25.5%), Tower Hamlets (24.7%) and Newham (23.9%).

Last updated on hub: 10 December 2020

Social distancing in a social therapy environment

Therapeutic Communities: the International Journal of Therapeutic Communities

Purpose: This paper aims to describe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a prison-based therapeutic community (TC). Design/methodology/approach: The paper takes the form of a case study where the authors reflect on their current practice, using the findings of research on social isolation and the overarching TC principles to explore the effect of the pandemic on the TC at HMP Grendon. The authors consider how the residents and staff adjusted to the change as the parameters changed when the social distancing rules were imposed and how they adapted to the prolonged break to therapy. Sections in the paper were written by a resident and an operational member of staff. The authors conclude with their thoughts on how to manage the consequences the lockdown has brought and start to think about what returning to “normality” might mean. Findings: The paper describes the adjustments made by the residents and staff as the UK Government imposed the lockdown. The authors, including a resident and an operational member of staff comment on the psychological and practical impact these adjustments had. The thought is given to the idea of “recovery”, returning to “normality” and how this study can be best managed once restrictions are lifted. Research limitations/implications: At the time of writing, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at HMP Grendon. The measures and commitment from all staff and residents in the prison to keep the prison environment safe may in part account for this. This paper explores the effects of lockdown on the emotional environment in a TC and highlights the consequences that social isolation can have on any individual. To the authors’ knowledge, there is currently no research undertaken on the impact of lockdown/social isolation on a TC. This research would be useful, as the authors postulate from reflections on current practice that the effects of the lockdown will be greater in a social therapy environment. Originality/value: HMP Grendon started in 1962, as this time there have been no significant events that have meant the suspension of therapy for such a sustained period. It is, therefore, important that the impact of such is considered and reflected upon.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

“Act-as-if you are infected and infectious”: what has the global therapeutic community movement learnt from COVID-19?

Therapeutic Communities: the International Journal of Therapeutic Communities

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is twofold: to reflect upon what the global therapeutic community (TC) movement has learnt from coronavirus and to consider how TCs will continue to adapt and evolve in a post-pandemic climate. Design/methodology/approach: This is a viewpoint paper based on the authors’ participation in an international learning event whereby speakers from TCs from around the world spoke about how they adapted their services to overcome adversity. Findings: The findings are usefully thought out as shelter, creativity, reintegration and employment, technology and roots. Based on the material discussed in the learning event, it would seem that the global TC movement has engaged in a process of looking to the past to move forward by drawing upon founding principles and prescriptions of the TC tradition, rooted in humanistic and indeed humanitarian responses to staff, client and sociocultural needs. Originality/value: According to the author, this paper is one of the first attempts to capture how TCs from across the globe have responded to the threat of coronavirus.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

Safeguarding adults practice and remote working in the COVID-19 era: challenges and opportunities

Journal of Adult Protection

Purpose: This exploratory paper aims to examine the literature on the impact of COVID-19 on safeguarding adults practice. Design/methodology/approach: A literature search was carried out in recently published articles to locate literature relating to COVID-19 and safeguarding adults in the UK and internationally. This included policy guidance and law, to describe the existing knowledge base, gaps in practice and areas that may require further research. Findings: The findings suggest that measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to remote working and virtual safeguarding practice. The findings highlight the need for empirical research into the impact of virtual safeguarding adults assessments and effective ways to support the needs and outcomes of those who may be at risk of or experiencing abuse and neglect while shielding, socially isolating or when working in an environment where social distancing is required. Research limitations/implications: The paper is based on a review and analysis of published documents and not on other types of research. Originality/value: Little is known about effective safeguarding adults practice in the era of shielding, self-isolation, social distancing and remote working. The paper adds to the body of knowledge in the field.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

Safeguarding adults and COVID-19: a sector-led improvement response

Journal of Adult Protection

Purpose: This study aims to describe the sector-led response to the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown in terms of safeguarding adults. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses a case study method to examine a sector-led improvement response to COVID-19 and safeguarding adults. Findings: The study describes how safeguarding issues and concerns were identified and brought together, and then responded to. It reviews this initiative in the context of crisis intervention theory and discusses the achievements of this initiative regarding COVID-19 and safeguarding adults during the period April–July 2020. Originality/value: The study describes a unique joint initiative between the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, which worked with the Networks of Chairs of Safeguarding Adults Boards, Safeguarding Adults Boards’ managers and Principal Social Workers. This initiative developed resources and shared information and good practice to support a response in unprecedented circumstances.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic and the struggle to tackle gender-based violence

Journal of Adult Protection

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to look at the policies for the protection of women during pandemics while taking gender and feminist interests into crucial consideration. In perilous times like this, where many humans are living in fear and struggling to survive a world filled with diverse traumatizing events such as wars, universal pandemic, man-induced tragedies, natural destruction, overwhelming stress and stress-related illnesses abound. Currently, Covid-19 pandemic is rampaging in different areas of the world. Design/methodology/approach: Studies have reviewed the major reasons of the violence against women during lockdown. A qualitative review of the literature is performed and analyzed. As there have been compulsory lockdowns in different parts of the world, Turkey included, the lockdown is ideal for preventing the spread of Covid-19. Findings: There are issues this Covid-19 pandemic has caused, and one major issue is the stigma and trauma women face around the world, even in their homes. Domestic violence is a serious concern. It is, therefore, paramount for the government to intervene on this issue by declaring domestic violence as “essential services” and must set modalities in place for instant reliefs to women in such distress. It is even further envisaged that the term lockdowns have a diverse number of interpretations. One such prevailing argument is that humans are enslaved to their general imaginations, may continue in the pathways set aside by gender stereotypes or the same lockdowns, can be used as a means to set aside patriarchal notions and pursue a violence-free existence. Originality/value: This research will increase the awareness in terms of preventing gender-based violence and try to address how this pandemic makes it worse for women. In addition, there are many studies focused on family violence and Covid-19 while few focus on gender.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

COVID-19 and residential care facilities: issues and concerns identified by the international network prevention of elder abuse (INPEA)

Journal of Adult Protection

Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the physical, psychological, social and financial health of older persons. On this subject, the United Nations published a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on older persons in May 2020. In line with this, the purpose of this general review is to address three issues affecting older persons living in residential care facilities: protective measures implemented to block the virus’ entry, the types of mistreatment most frequently experienced and the necessity to promote and defend the rights of these persons. Design/methodology/approach: The design of this study is based on input gathered since the end of April during meetings of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) and the results of a July survey of its members. Findings: The survey results indicate variability in the implementation of protective measures in different countries and the significant presence of mistreatment and violation of the rights of older persons. Three major issues demand attention: ageism, systemic and managerial problems and the effects of implemented measures. All these prompt the INPEA to once again plea for the adoption of an international convention of human rights of older persons. Originality/value: To our knowledge, this is the first article sharing the views of the INPEA from a global perspective in the context of COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

From ovid to COVID: the metamorphosis of advanced decisions to refuse treatment into a safeguarding issue

Journal of Adult Protection

Purpose: This paper aims to examine advance decisions to refuse treatment (ADRTs) in the context of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus 2019) pandemic. This study considers the development of ADRTs, the lack of take up and confusion among the general public, clinicians and health and social care staff. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is a conceptual piece that reflects on ADRTs in the particular context of COVID-19. It considers professional concerns and pronouncements on ADRTs. Findings: ADRTs have a low take up currently. There is misunderstanding among public and professionals. There is a need for raising awareness, developing practice and a need to allay fears of misuse and abuse of ADRTs in clinical, health and social care settings. Practical implications: The authors make recommendations that reflexive training and awareness become the norm in health and social care, that reform of ADRTs is undertaken to prevent misunderstandings and that the person becomes central in all decision-making processes. Originality/value: This paper is original in considering ADRTs as a safeguarding issue from two perspectives: that of the person making the ADRT and being confident in respect for the decisions made; and that of clinicians and other professionals being reflexively aware of the need to accept advance decisions and not acting according to unconscious biases in times of crisis.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

#LeftInLockdown – parent carers’ experiences of lockdown

Disabled Children’s Partnership

Findings from an online survey to assess the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown on families with disabled children across the UK. The survey was promoted between 1 -17 May 2020 via social channels, direct emails to supporters of DCP charities, parent carer groups and networks. The survey covers the following areas: caring in lockdown, information and support, health and social care, education and learning; money and work; and what the government could do to help now and with the transition from lockdown. Parents report an increased caring load, both for themselves and for their disabled children's siblings; they feel exhausted, stressed, anxious and abandoned by society – in many cases, the support families previously received has now stopped. Many families are seeing declines in both mental and physical health – parents are particularly concerned about the pressure of children's behaviour and mental wellbeing; managing home-schooling; and what will happen to their children if they contract Covid-19. The little support that had previously been provided for families has often stopped altogether. Children's friendships, learning and communications, mental and physical health, and emotions and behaviour have all been negatively impacted. In addition, the lockdown is increasing financial pressures on families. Parents call for action now, including: acknowledgement and respect for their situation and the challenges they face; increased support – both financial and services; information and guidance more specifically at families with disabled children; flexibility – including from employers, schools, and around lockdown rules to enable family and friends to provide support.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020