Vulnerable Population Guidelines

As a legal services organization, you will likely work with vulnerable clients. It is important to establish organizational protection policies that your staff will follow when working with these populations. You should identify which vulnerable populations you are most likely to work with and create policies to ensure that they are protected and well served.

The following sections will examine some general and specific issues to consider when working with some of the most common vulnerable groups: children, LGBTI people, and individuals with mental health needs.

The General Considerations section will lay out some important issues to keep in mind when you are working with vulnerable populations.

The Child Protection Policy section will detail what to include in a child protection policy, and how best to serve and interact with children.

The Working with LGBTI Clients section will suggest some considerations to keep in mind when you are describing your client’s sexual orientation, and it proposes one possible way to frame an LGBTI refugee claim.

The Populations with Mental Health Needs section will describe different types of trauma or stress that your clients may suffer from, explain the risks of retraumaization from the refugee status determination process, and give some suggestions of how you can minimize that risk and create a supportive environment for your clients. It will also discuss how to handle a client who threatens to harm themselves or others.

To complete this training, click on each of the links above beginning with General Considerations. After reading each of these sections, you should understand the different issues that you need to consider when working with these populations and how to create safe and supportive environments for them.