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Adult Safeguarding in Northern Ireland: a study of the relationship between social deprivation and adult protection referrals in Northern Ireland

School Of Social Sciences, Education And Social Work

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Dr L Montgomery , Dr L Bunting No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

There is a growing realization in many societies that certain adults who are vulnerable have been subject to abuse, harm or exploitation. Abuse of vulnerable people is an increasing problem given the demographics of an ageing society and the promotion of care in the community. Over the last 15 years, increased public and political awareness has developed alongside policy and professional intervention to increase our understanding of the abuse and protection of adults whose personal characteristics or life circumstances may put them at risk of harm. Northern Ireland is unique across the UK, as it does not yet have any adult protection legislation, although an Adult Safeguarding Bill is pending.

Research into adult protection locally, nationally and internationally, is limited in range and volume; where it exists, the research tends to consider issues at an individual micro level. There are major gaps in knowledge and understanding of adult protection particularly around developing a systemic model of abuse, considering wider structural issues such as poverty, unemployment and service provision.
The studentship:Supervisors: Dr Lorna Montgomery, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work and Dr. Lisa Bunting, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work.

This doctoral research will explore the ‘big picture’ of adult protection in Northern Ireland. It will facilitate the development of knowledge specific to Northern Ireland with a view to identifying patterns of abuse linked with local populations thereby exploring the micro and macro factors, which impact abuse. This project has the potential to inform social care service provision, shape developing policy and contribute to the current development of a specific Adult Safeguarding Bill. It will also inform the development of wider theoretical frameworks in conceptualizing adult abuse.

The successful candidate will undertake a mixed methods exploratory study in exploring the relationship between economic inequality/social deprivation and adult protection referrals in Northern Ireland.

• To link routinely gathered adult protection statistics to super output areas across Northern Ireland in order to identify the relationship between patterns of referrals and deprivation, service provision and outcomes.

• To elicit views of key professionals of identified referral patterns.

• To elicit the views of service users and advocates of identified referral patterns.

Applicants will normally be expected to have completed a master’s level degree in a social science or related discipline. Exceptionally, applications may be considered from outstanding honours graduates who can demonstrate relevant knowledge and skills. All applicants must be able to demonstrate a capability to undertake research training through to completion to the standard necessary to qualify for a PhD.

Applicants must have experience of qualitative and quantitative research methods.

It is desirable that the applicant is a qualified social worker; however, consideration will also be given to candidates who are not qualified social workers but who can demonstrate an understanding of the topic and have experience of engaging with individuals in addressing sensitive topics.

To make an application you must complete and provide the following:
A fully completed online application:

Please note that we will not be able to consider your application for the studentship until you have been accepted as a potential candidate through the QUB doctoral admissions process.

Cite the reference: LMLB2020 in your application if you are applying for this studentship.

Please provide an outline of not more than 2 pages (excluding references) to include the following,
• How you would approach the topic
• Outline what research methods you would use, and any important considerations.
• How you would structure the first two years
• Relevant (research and interpersonal ) skills, knowledge and experience you have for this project, including experience of qualitative and quantitative research methods

A sample of your written work in a relevant discipline and/or related topic.
This should be 2000-4000 words, e.g. essay or thesis chapter.
Two references [including at least one academic reference].
Please choose your referees carefully, since we shall be contacting them for an opinion as to your suitably for research.

If your first language is not English, a language certificate (IELTS 5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all four elements of the test or equivalent qualification acceptable to the university, or other proven expertise in English writing and reading.

If you obtained your primary degree from a university outside the UK, it can speed up the application process if you can relate your qualification to the UK system.

A full transcript of all qualifications not completed at Queen’s University will need to be uploaded.

Deadline for Submission: 27th November 2020 at 12 noon

Shortlisted candidates will be asked to take part in a brief interview (via MS Teams) on 7th December 2020. Please indicate your availability for interview in your cover letter.

The successful candidate needs to be in a position to take up this opportunity in January 2021, bearing in mind that, for now, all work will be undertaken remotely.

Funding Notes

Research studentships are normally for a maximum period of three years subject to successful completion of an annual progress review.

This is a studentship funded by the Northern Ireland Department for Economy at the 2020/21 rate, i.e. a stipend of £15,285 plus Home/EU fees. The candidate must be ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland by the time the studentship commences at the start of 2021. Further details are listed here:

There is an expectation that someone in receipt of a studentship will be normally resident in Northern Ireland and should be in regular attendance on campus. However, given the exceptional circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, it will be acceptable for the successful candidate to start the research remotely in January 2021. This will be kept under review, with the expectation that a return to normality will see the student resident in Northern Ireland.

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