Safeguarding Ireland wishes to invite suitably qualified and interested parties to submit a tender proposal to carry out research and prepare a report on the above. The identification, sourcing and analysis of relevant materials and data in conjunction with key stakeholders will inform the development of the final report.
1. About Safeguarding Ireland
Safeguarding Ireland was established to promote safeguarding of adults who may be vulnerable, protect them from all forms of abuse by persons, organisations and institutions and develop a national plan for promoting their welfare. This will be achieved by promoting inter-sectoral collaboration, developing public and professional awareness and education, and undertaking research to inform policy, practice and legislation in the Republic of Ireland. Safeguarding Ireland is a registered charity and is funded by the HSE. More information about Safeguarding Ireland can be found at https://safeguardingireland.org/about/.
2. Background to the research
The issue of ‘peer-to-peer abuse’ in the context of Ireland’s health and social care services is a complex multifaceted issue. The issue arises mainly in residential health and social care services for older people and people with a disability, registered by the Chief Inspector of Social Services, in line with the Health Act 2007 (As Amended). However, it is also acknowledged that the issue of “peer-to-peer” abuse may also be a feature in other services such as day care and supported living services provided and or commissioned by the HSE. These latter services are not registered or subject to statutory notifications to the Chief Inspector.
Definition and Thresholds
Currently there is no definition of what is meant by “peer-to-peer abuse”. Therefore, there is no agreed understanding and consistency of interpretation and the need to record or report incidents. The use of the term ‘abuse’ may not always be appropriate especially as the issues can occur as a result of compatibility issues between residents and service users. It is generally agreed that peer-to-peer altercations are safeguarding concerns, but it is not clear when a peer-to-peer interaction becomes “abuse”.
There is a current concern within services that there may be over-reporting of incidents as the current practice would appear to be that service providers report all peer-to-peer interactions as abuse. It is generally felt that clearer definition would facilitate more assessment of the incident and appropriate reporting of safeguarding concerns as opposed to categorising the incident as abuse and reporting it as such. It is notable that some provider organisations operate a threshold system for reporting of such incidents, being selective in what is reported as an incident whilst others report all concerns as abuse.
As the result of the lack of a definition of “peer-to-peer abuse”, training for staff on the issue appears to be very limited.
Capacity within Services and impact on individuals
At times capacity within the residential health and social care sector can lead to providers having to be reactive to emergencies, in terms of the admission of service users into services. At times, a full assessment and access to full information about the person being admitted to the service may not always be possible. This can lead to situations where people move into a residential centre where incompatibility issues can arise. Circumstances may also arise where the choice of placement for an individual service user is not appropriate but other, more appropriate, options are not available when the admission to a service is deemed necessary in the ensuing crisis. There is currently no appeal mechanism where issues arise as a result of an emergency placement. This is a critical human rights issue for service users as it can result in little to no choice of who they live with or where they live.
It is accepted that people who require older person’s and disability residential services are now presenting with more complex needs and there are more people now presenting with complex sensory issues which may result in increased incidents of behaviours that challenge and have a resultant impact on others living within the service.
There are approximately 2,000 people with a disability in need of a residential place (this is based on people who are currently interacting with disability services).
In determining the approach to this research proposal, Safeguarding Ireland have engaged with the ‘Five Nations Group on Adult Safeguarding’ (UK and Ireland)’1 and with a wider stakeholder group in Ireland. The issue of “peer to peer abuse” is undoubtedly an issue that exists in all five jurisdictions. It is acknowledged that there appears to be a paucity of research and published literature on this subject, this includes peer reviewed and grey literature.
Submission of Tenders:
Please forward tenders, no later than Tuesday 9th January by 5pm, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tenders received after this time will not be opened or included in the evaluation process. Any queries can also be emailed to email@example.com no later than 5pm on the 19th December 2023 and will be responded to no later than 48 hours after the day of receipt.