People can experience difficulties when communicating with others due to speech, language or communication needs. These difficulties can be the result of illness, injury, disability, learning difficulties, sensory impairments, autism spectrum conditions or language barriers.
Communication difficulties can include:
- difficulty when communicating verbally, visually or in writing
- difficulty interpreting the speech and actions of others
- difficulty expressing their own thoughts and feelings.
Vulnerability to exploitation
Communication difficulties can increase someone’s vulnerability to exploitation. They may find it difficult to tell others if they feel unsafe or concerned about a person or situation. Unwillingness to talk or communication through behavioural cues may not be interpreted by others as signs that they are being harmed or abused. Instead this behaviour may be attributed to their communication difficulties.
Communication difficulties can also make it challenging for someone to interpret and understand the intentions and actions of others. They may not recognise that they are being groomed or exploited until the situation has escalated.
Those wishing to groom and exploit others may view people with communication difficulties as easy targets, assuming that the victim will not fully understand that they are being exploited and will be unable to tell others what has happened to them.