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Beyond ‘vulnerability’: an ecological model approach to conceptualizing risk of sexual violence against people with learning difficulties

Hollomotz, Andrea (2009) Beyond ‘vulnerability’: an ecological model approach to conceptualizing risk of sexual violence against people with learning difficulties. British journal of social work, 39 (1). pp. 99-112. ISSN 1468-263X

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Abstract

This paper presents an ecological model approach to conceptualizing risk of sexual violence against people with learning difficulties, which takes account of the complex social processes involved in the creation of risk. The concept ‘vulnerability’, often assumed to be a risk-creating characteristic of people with learning difficulties, is too simplistic to take account of all the processes involved in the formation of risk of sexual violence. Risk is influenced by personal attributes, self-defence skills, environments and socio-cultural factors. These risk factors are closely interlinked and constantly interact with one another. The ecological model provides a tool for examining the impact that interactions between individuals and social environments have on an individual’s learning and the development opportunities that have the potential to increase self-defence skills.

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