New research aims to meet the needs of vulnerable adults in emergency situations

Emma Stanley

New research by a PhD student at the University of Lincoln, UK, is shining a spotlight on the dangers of financial abuse faced by vulnerable adults.

Emma Stanley presented her work at a major UK conference hosted by the Cabinet Office’s Emergency Planning College (EPC) which focused on how to meet the challenges of vulnerable adults in emergencies.

Meeting the Challenges of Vulnerable Adults in Emergencies: Maintaining Excellence in Austerity was a two day event which brought together experts, practitioners, researchers and policy makers to examine the experience of vulnerable adults in emergency situations and explore ways of offering protection.

Emma has been developing innovative work in this area together with her PhD supervisor and Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science at Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences, Dr Lucy Easthope. They have been working with UK police forces and charitable organisations to help combat fraud and Emma’s presentation at the EPC specifically focused on the actions that emergency planners can take to prevent scamming during crisis situations.

Emma said: “Whatever the emergency or disaster situation, it is always important to swiftly identify those who might be most vulnerable in the immediate aftermath. This is becoming increasingly complex because the landscape of care for the elderly and those with complex needs is changing rapidly. However numerous solutions are now emerging and our work looks specifically at how best to support those who might be at risk of financial abuse.

“I have been investigating how best to prevent scams, fraud and financial error after a disaster and the EPC conference was a great opportunity to share this with the sector.”

Emma’s research has explored ‘target hardening’ as a means to prevent the occurrence of scams and fraud, as well as investigating methods for building wider community resilience after an emergency.

Her wider PhD work also involves examining the scope, nature and complexity of the financial abuse of vulnerable adults and pinpointing opportunities to mitigate and prevent it.

For more information on the Cabinet Office event, visit the EPC Resilience website.