Journal Article

Beyond ‘Vulnerability’: An Ecological Model Approach to Conceptualizing Risk of Sexual Violence against People with Learning Difficulties

Andrea Hollomotz

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 1, pages 99-112
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online August 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcm091
Beyond ‘Vulnerability’: An Ecological Model Approach to Conceptualizing Risk of Sexual Violence against People with Learning Difficulties

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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.

Keywords: learning disability; sexual abuse; sexual violence; vulnerability

Journal Article.  5288 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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