The challenges of safety and community integration for vulnerable individuals

Melody M. Terras*, Gillian Hendry, Dominic Jarrett

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Although community inclusion brings a number of advantages for vulnerable individuals, it can also entail a range of challenges, and draws in issues of safety and security. This qualitative psychological study, therefore, aimed to explore the challenges being faced by two groups of vulnerable individuals: those with intellectual disabilities and dementia, and how these could be addressed in order to establish a community that is safe and welcoming for all. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with a range of community stakeholders – for instance, local businesses, residents, and individuals with intellectual disabilities, dementia and their carers – and data was thematically analysed to explore the issue of inclusion and participation particularly in relation to stigma and prejudice, self worth, social isolation, and feeling safe. As well as highlighting practical issues regarding inclusion and support, the work emphasised the psychological dimension, linking to a multi-faceted conception of community participation. While significant work is already addressing issues of risk and safety for vulnerable populations (such as ‘Keep Safe’ schemes), the work described here leads to an alternative conceptualization, tied to notions of kindness in communities with a view to crafting communities capable of safely welcoming a wider variety of marginalized groups.
Original languageEnglish
Article number85
JournalSafety
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2019

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Keywords

  • Community safety
  • Intellectual disability
  • Dementia
  • Vulnerable adults
  • Discrimination
  • Inclusion
  • Barriers to participation
  • Psychological perceptions of safety
  • Kindness
  • Inclusive design

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