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Risk factors

There are certain characteristics that might mean that a person is more likely to be a victim of abuse or more likely to perpetrate abuse. The following are general indictors that, if present, may make the risk of abuse occurring more likely but do not on their own show that abuse has occurred or will occur.

The risk of abuse is greater where the vulnerable adult:

However, often it is not the behaviour of the victim or vulnerable person that matters but the way the way it is perceived and the quality of the relationship. The risk is greatest where the relationship or prevailing climate is cold or clinical or the abuser has little or no insight or understanding of the person’s needs or condition.

For instance, increasing deafness may be understood by one person as a sign of a person’s condition or age; by another as a sign that that the person is deliberately ignoring or provoking them.

The stresses of caring can sometimes give rise to abuse. This is generally more likely where one or more of the following apply.

The risk of abuse by a carer occurring may be greater where the carer:

Other predisposing factors may include:

Where an incident of abuse has occurred in the home or family environment the outlook is generally far better if the incident is isolated, there are no indicators of other forms of abuse and the relationship is genuinely warm and caring. The outlook is poorer where the relationship or environment is cold, punitive or unreliable.

Where possible consideration should be given to the needs of the carer and their circumstances when thinking about how the risk of abuse can be minimized.

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