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Kerry Cooke

Practice Research Fellow


I am a Registered Social Worker and Safeguarding Adults Manager with 20 years’ experience of working in statutory adult social care at Newcastle City Council.

I have worked within older persons, mental health, homelessness, and safeguarding adult’s teams. I am a qualified Approved Mental Health Professional and Best Interest Assessor.

I have specialist knowledge and passion regarding the exploitation of adults and have been part of the Multi Agency Exploitation Team for 7 years. We have gained knowledge and experience from our journey in Newcastle through the Joint Serious Case Review (JSCR) that was published because of Operation Sanctuary. This was a large-scale police investigation into the sexual exploitation of children and adults in Newcastle, which was launched in 2014, as 700 potential victims were identified in the force area. An adult victim who had a diagnosed Learning Disability was the first person to make a disclosure of exploitation and then the scale of the problem indicated a bespoke approach was required from all partner agencies.

We have continued to adapt the way we work to encompass adults who are at risk of criminal exploitation. The work we have done has been recognised nationally and award winning. We were nominated for the National Social Work Team of the Year in 2017 and won a Gold Award for the bespoke interventions we provide to safeguard and support adult victims of exploitation.

Summary of research project 

I am conducting a realist evaluation of Newcastle’ s approach of how we support and safeguard adult victims of sexual and criminal exploitation. This will help us understand what works best, for which adults, and in what circumstances, therefore directly informing our practice. Adult exploitation is starting to become more recognised as an issue in other areas of the UK, and social care teams nationally are regularly seeking my team’s expertise in best practice. Little is known about the scale of the issues, as there is no duty to record or report cases of adult exploitation. This research project will provide the potential to develop a programme of research in this area of adult safeguarding, there remains many areas for improvement to ensure the right support and risk plans are in place on a multiagency basis for adult victims of sexual and criminal exploitation nationally.

Areas of interest

  • Adult Social Care
  • Safeguarding Adults
  • MDS, Sexual and criminal exploitation
  • Transitions

Recent or relevant publications

Cooke K, Bailey D (2011) Women’s Experiences of Forensic Mental Health Services: Implications for practice. The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol 6 No.4, pp186-194 Emerald


Get in touch

Email:  [email protected]