2.4 Increased Vulnerability

Certain characteristics such as disability and age can increase a person's vulnerability, especially where there is a pre-existing level of dependency. Being non-English speaking and marginalised can also be a factor.

Forced marriage, honour-based crimes and female genital mutilation can pose significant additional risks and increased vulnerability for victims. These forms of abuse can be accompanied by a level of cultural acceptance and collusion, not only within the immediate family, but sometimes among extended family members and the wider community.

Many victims of these crimes are unable to utilise resources and support inside their community to improve their resilience, and ultimately to end the abuse. Individuals may be faced with turning their back on their family and the community, and leaving behind everything they know, in order to escape the abuse.

Perpetrators will often exploit whatever weaknesses they can, therefore recognising people may face additional barriers to accessing support or help is vital.

Other examples might include perpetrators exploiting someone's vulnerability owing to their immigration status or sexual orientation; combining controlling or coercive behaviour with enforced sexual activity to humiliate the victim and reduce the risk of them seeking help.