Safeguarding of Children and Adults Level 3 (VTQ)

102 videos, 4 hours and 39 minutes

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Understanding Vulnerability

Video 7 of 102
2 min 24 sec
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Understanding Vulnerability in Health and Social Care

Defining Vulnerability

Vulnerability, a crucial concept in health, social care, and safeguarding, refers to an increased risk of harm or exploitation. It arises from various factors that necessitate the development of effective safeguarding strategies.

Roots of Vulnerability

Vulnerability stems from a combination of individual, societal, and situational factors. It manifests as a susceptibility to physical or emotional harm, often due to inadequate safeguarding or protective measures.

Physical Factors

Aspects like age and medical conditions contribute to vulnerability. The elderly and children, owing to their physical frailty or developmental stage, are inherently vulnerable. Similarly, individuals with chronic illnesses, disabilities, or cognitive impairments are at increased risk of exploitation or neglect.

Psychological Factors

Those with mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or more severe disorders, are often more susceptible to coercion or manipulation. Cognitive impairments, including dementia or learning disabilities, can impair the ability to identify or avoid harmful situations.

Socio-economic Factors

Dependency on others for financial support can make individuals vulnerable to economic abuse or manipulation. Lack of education or awareness about one's rights also contributes to this vulnerability.

Environmental and Situational Factors

Individuals who are socially isolated or lack family/community support are at increased risk. Prior experiences of abuse or exploitation, particularly unaddressed trauma, can heighten future vulnerability.

Societal and Cultural Factors

Discrimination and stigma against individuals from marginalised communities, based on race, sexuality, gender identity, or other factors, can increase vulnerability. Cultural norms that undermine individual rights or agency also play a role in perpetuating vulnerability.


Comprehensive understanding of these factors is vital for crafting effective safeguarding strategies to protect the vulnerable in health and social care settings.