Why an Individual may be Vulnerable to Harm or Abuse

Why the Individual’s might be at an increased risk of Harm or Abuse

Abuse and neglect can take place anytime and anywhere. However, some situations increase an individual’s vulnerability to the risk of abuse or neglect happening. For example:

  • An individual is at increased risk in their own home, as it is easier for an abuser to hide their actions from others.
  • Organisational abuse is more likely to happen when standards are poor and routines are planned to fit around a rota or workers feel unsupported by their management. This can lead to a way of working that everyone begins to see as acceptable. They do not try to challenge the situation because they are afraid of speaking out about what is being accepted by the majority.
  • Any workplace where individual’s display difficult or challenging behaviour that workers are not trained or supported to deal with
  • An individual may have particular care and support needs such as a sensory impairment, a mental health issue, dementia or a learning disability. A reaction to something that has happened could be taken as a symptom of a person’s condition rather than an attempt for the individual to tell someone something about their care and support.

Staff need to be aware that all service users are at risk of being abused. Some people are at increased risk e.g. having been in care, belonging to a minority group, lacking mental capacity or having a communication impairment


Joe has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair user with a speech and language impairment. He uses his mouth to control his computer and to use his speech board. Joe’s wheelchair is electric which can be controlled by him slightly touching a switch or someone else moving it. He has a degree in accountancy and is self employed working from his home (an adapted bungalow). He has a number of PA’s and home carers who provide him with support. He relies on his brother to take him out to socialise.

Joe is at risk from harm and abuse due to his physical impairments. Despite Joe having maximised his independence he still needs to rely on others to provide essential care and support. Reliance on his brother to take him out means he has no control over meeting his social needs.

  • Despite having full mental capacity there is a risk of Joe being deprived of his rights to make his own decisions if people fail to accept or understand his mode of communication
  • He is not physically capable of fighting off someone who might try to physically or sexually abuse him
  • Risks of physical abuse; psychological/emotional abuse; sexual abuse; neglect by other people; discrimination.

Use to answer question 10.1e of the Care Certificate

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