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Thematic Learning from Case Reviews – Alcohol Misuse and Depedency

Date: Tuesday, 25th Apr 2023 | Category: Adults, Children

Dudley Safeguarding People Partnership are undertaking a monthly thematic learning dissemination, which provides an opportunity for staff and partner organisations in Dudley to be made aware of the key learning from our quality assurance activity and case reviews along with offering information in relation to this learning.

During April the focus was on Alcohol Misuse and Dependency as this has been a recurring theme in our adults and children’s reviews.

How do we review multi agency practice and share learning?

DSPP seeks to promote a culture of continuous learning and improvement across the organisations that work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and adults, identifying opportunities to draw on what works and promote good practice

Our thematic learning plan is one of the ways we share learning to improve practice.


We would like to share reviews that have links to the theme of Alcohol Misuse and Dependency:

Helpful Resources

Alcohol Change UK (ACUK) have developed a briefing on Safeguarding Vulnerable Dependent Drinkers.

The aim of the document is to encourage and enable professionals in England to use legal frameworks to manage and protect chronic dependent drinkers.

The document aims to help practitioners to improve the well-being and safety of adults who are highly vulnerable, chronic, dependent drinkers. It does this in four ways:

  • clarifying how and when to use the Care Act (2014) in England or the Social Services and Well-being Act 2014 in Wales, the Mental Capacity Act (2005), and the Mental Health Act (1983 revised 2007) to protect and support this group of people;
  • identifying other legal powers which can be used, for example the Anti-social Behaviour, Police and Crime Act (2014);
  • describing how to use these powers effectively in practice;
  • proposing governance, agency management and inter-agency arrangements that will support this work.

View and download the briefing here

Parents and carers who misuse substances can have chaotic, unpredictable lifestyles and may struggle to recognise and meet their children’s needs. This may result in their children being at risk of harm.  NSPCC have some helpful guidance on parental substance misuse, view this at the link below:

NSPCC Guidance on parental substance misuse

Change Grow Live have some put together some advice on how to spot the signs of alcohol abuse and things you can do to help someone stop or cut down on their drinking;

Advice for professional from Change Grow Live

Find out about Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, a condition caused by drinking too much alcohol, including information on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

View more information from the Alzheimer’s Society

ACEs are highly stressful, and potentially traumatic, events or situations that occur during childhood and/or adolescence.

It can be a single event, or prolonged threats to, and breaches of, the young person’s safety, security, trust or bodily integrity. These experiences directly affect the young person and their environment, and require significant social, emotional, neurobiological, psychological or behavioural adaptation.

View an infographic poster on ACEs from Young Minds

Training and Resources

The below DSPP courses are directly linked to the findings of our reviews:

Introduction to Childhood Adversity and Trauma Informed Practice

An Introduction to Childhood Adversity and Trauma Informed Practice aims to:

  • understand the potential impact of ACEs and trauma across the life course.
  • understand how to recognise the signs of trauma in behaviour.
  • understand what trauma-informed practice means.
  • gain a basic understanding into how an organisation can begin a journey towards a trauma-informed organisational culture

Book a place on this course here

Trauma Informed Practice

This training will equip practitioners:

  • to develop understanding of the theory and concepts behind the potential impact of ACEs and trauma across the life course
  • to understand what trauma-informed and trauma-responsive practice looks, sounds and feels like.
  • to gain a basic understanding into how an organisation can begin a journey towards a trauma-informed organisational culture. The session is structured to return to key ideas and reinforce core messages as take home learning.

Book your place here

Mental Capacity Act Awareness eLearning

This training has been designed to support your understanding of Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding.

The knowledge that you will get from this course will help you understand the how to help people who may lack mental capacity and the implications of Deprivation of Liberty. It will help you to ensure that you are safeguarding their rights.

Sign up to the eLearning here

Child Neglect

By the end of the session, delegates will have:

  • Basic understanding of Neglect and the four models of Neglect
  • Understanding the concepts of purposeful Neglect or accidental Neglect
  • Knowledge of the impact of Neglect on a short and long-term basis
  • Awareness of Neglecting neglect and the barriers to practice
  • Key practice to ensure we are working to the best possible outcomes for children and families
  • Understanding of Disguised compliance and intergenerational Neglect and how to consider this in how we work with children and families
  • Considering Dudley’s practice around Neglect and what that means for their role

Book your place via the DSPP online booking system

Graded Care Profile2

By the end of the session, delegates will

  • Understand what neglect is, its impact and why it’s difficult to assess
  • Understand how GCP2 will help in neglect assessment and case management
  • Be able to use the GCP2 tool and understand its theoretical underpinning
  • Analyse a completed assessment
  • Undertake GCP2 assessments for Dudley

Book on to GCP2 training here

Safer7 Briefings

Seven minute briefings are based on a technique borrowed from the FBI. It is based on research, which suggests that seven minutes is an ideal time span to concentrate and learn. Learning for seven minutes is manageable in most services, and learning is more memorable as it is simple and not clouded by other issues and pressures. 

As part of the Thematic Learning from reviews we have promoted our Safer7 briefings which are directly linked to the findings of our reviews:

All professionals that encounter children, parents and carers in their role need to be aware of their safeguarding responsibilities and alert to the needs of vulnerable children and young people. This requires professionals to be curious so that they can effectively identify vulnerabilities and potential or actual risks of harm.

View and download the Professional Curiosity Safer7

Sharing information is crucial to safeguarding children – poor information sharing is repeatedly highlighted as an issue in CSPRs and SARs.

“Fears about information sharing cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children at risk of abuse and neglect. No practitioner should assume that someone else will pass on information which may be critical to keeping a child safe.” (HM Government, 2015:5)

View and download the Information Sharing Safer7

Disguised compliance involves parents and carers appearing to co-operate with professionals to allay concerns and stop professional engagement (Reder et al, 1993). This can mean that social workers and other practitioners may be unaware of what is happening in a child’s or vulnerable adult’s life and the risks they face may be unknown to authorities.

View and download the Disguised Compliance Safer7

There are many ways in which a person or their family can become homeless or find themselves at risk of losing their home. This includes being served with a valid notice by their landlord, a breakdown of a relationship or fleeing domestic abuse.

View and download the Homelessness Safer7

The MCA 2005 applies to everyone over 16 years who may lack capacity to make specific decisions about their life. These decisions can range from simple, everyday things to more complex life changing matters such as where they live or receiving treatment.

The MCA protects the rights of individuals by creating a framework for decision making where someone may lack the mental capacity to make the decision for themselves.

View and download the Mental Capacity Act Safer7

Executive function is an umbrella term used to describe a set of mental skills that are controlled by the frontal lobes of the brain. When executive function is impaired, it can inhibit

appropriate decision-making and reduce a person’s problem-solving abilities.

Professionals assessing capacity in this patient group are faced with a number of obstacles that make determination of capacity more challenging. This can have significant

implications because failing to carry out a sufficiently thorough capacity assessment in these situations can expose a vulnerable person to substantial risk.

View and download the MCA Executive Functioning Safer7

Alcohol Misuse and self-neglect

Alcohol and/or substance misuse can be a sign of self-neglect in adults.  Help and support is available

If you believe an adult is self-neglecting and this is causing them harm call 0300 555 0055 or use the Dudley Adults Portal:

DSPP have created a poster for awareness raising of this issue, view and download this at the link below:

Self-Neglect poster


For more information on self-neglect, view our webpage on our website