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Vulnerable Adults and the Law$
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Jonathan Herring

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737278

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737278.001.0001

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Defining Vulnerability

Defining Vulnerability

Chapter:
(p.5) 2 Defining Vulnerability
Source:
Vulnerable Adults and the Law
Author(s):

Jonathan Herring

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737278.003.0002

This chapter examines the difficulties in defining the concept of vulnerability. It argues that disagreements mainly centre on two schools of thought. One notion claims that vulnerability is universal and an inevitable part of the human experience. The other notion believes that it is more profitable to recognize that there are particular individuals or groups of individuals who suffer particular vulnerabilities. The chapter also explores the legal understanding of vulnerability, as it plays a significant role in debates concerning welfare reform and the extent to which someone can be expected to find work and/or is entitled to claim benefits by analysing the definition of vulnerability as stated in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, an Act that makes provisions in connection to the protection of children and vulnerable adults.

Keywords:   vulnerability, Martha Fineman, disability, autonomy, interdependence, relational

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