DOI link for Response
Vulnerability is a productive concept and that vulnerability theory can help critical scholars to articulate justifications for political and legal responses to human frailty. To be vulnerable is to be exposed to the potentiality of harm, but that vulnerability becomes actionable, in a political sense, only when the harm shifts from an abstract potentiality to a substantive and immediate harm or risk of harm. In other words, the state only responds to immanent harm, not general risk. The universal language of the statute is therefore modified by the secondary legislation that sets the criteria for access to state support to a ‘particular’ approach, founded on specific needs and circumstance. This new ‘safeguarding adults’ framework demonstrates that vulnerability as a legal concept needs to be both universal, in the sense that all humans are vulnerable, and also attentive to variability across the life course and between individuals.