Broader Cultural Factors

Michael is a man in his early 20’s with a mild intellectual disability. He lives with his parents, his brother and a younger cousin in a two-bedroom apartment in a subsidized housing complex. Michael has difficulty communicating with other people. He is shy and he stutters so he tends to keep quiet and to himself. He has been very lonely since he finished high school and longs to make friends. He sometimes hangs around with some kids from the housing complex but his mother says they are a bad influence. Michael’s mother has chronic health problems and his father works two jobs and is often away from home. The family has very little money and frequently have to move to stay ahead of their creditors. When they move it takes a long time before Michael can learn his way around and he has to make all new friends.

Michael volunteers twice a week at a local church that provides meals to the poor. To do this he rides the bus on his own. Michael would really like to move out on his own. His house is loud and busy and he doesn’t like that his parents tell him what to do even though he is an adult. His brother often calls him names and takes his things like his phone but if he tells his parents they tell him not to be a tattle tale. Right now he can’t move out because his parents cannot afford to pay the rent without his share. Michael doesn’t want people to think he is a baby so he will tell people he lives by himself, or he is just staying with friends if people ask about his home life.

Michael had a support worker who was helping him plan to move out but he lost touch with her when they last moved. She was trying to help him get more funding for support. He only has enough funding for 2 hours/week and he would need more support time if he lived on his own. A woman at the church helped him refer to a new agency but he was put on a wait list for services.

  1. What are some characteristics of Michael himself which might make him vulnerable to abuse? (3 marks)
  2. What are some characteristics of the people that Michael comes into contact with that might make them potential abusers? (3 marks)
  3. What aspects of Michael’s environment might make abuse more likely to happen? (3 marks)
  4. What broader cultural factors could contribute to Michael being more vulnerable to abuse? (3 marks)
  5. If you were hired to work as a support worker for Michael, can you think of three things you could do to reduce the vulnerabilities you’ve identified above? (3 marks)

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