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Competency 6: Legal Issues

Legal Issues Related to Individuals with an FASD, Continued

Vulnerability of Individuals with an FASD

offering comfort

Individuals with an FASD are vulnerable not only to criminal activity but also to victimization. Their poor judgment may lead them to associate with people who victimize them physically, emotionally, and financially. Their impulsivity may lead them into dangerous situations. In addition, their impaired sense of boundaries can lead to sexual victimization. Because of their unpredictable nature, they may need 24-hour supervision.4,5

Even with compensatory strategies, the person with an FASD may be unable to use judgment, consider consequences, or understand abstract situations. Impulsivity is an ongoing issue. Social isolation and loneliness may drive the person to seek out any type of friendship and lead to victimization.

A discussion or pursuit of safeguards for the person may be necessary:

  • Recognize that victimization may occur and keep vigilant for situations that may arise in the person’s life.
  • Persons with an FASD may need a guardianship of funds to protect them from those who seek to take advantage of their good nature. A trustee can ensure that the necessities of life are covered by person’s funds including rent, food, or clothing. The addiction professional may want to include such provisions in the aftercare plan.
  • A person may be exploited by others in many different ways. Discussion of safe environments and connection to community resources may offer the adult a chance to explore other options.
  • Role playing specific scenarios that people face gives them a chance to practice taught skills and perhaps allow them to pursue safe activities.
  • Structured time throughout the person’s day, a buddy system, and supervision may help decrease the opportunities for victimization.
  • Teaching personal safety issues such as who is a stranger versus who is a friend can help. It is important to be specific and practice.6

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