Vulnerable group


“The horse plunged into the crowd of onlookers, injuring eight people, including a five year-old girl and an 85 year-old woman.”

Definition and effect on reader

A vulnerable group is a collection of people who may be perceived as being more at risk than the general population, such as children, the elderly and minorities. People in these groups may be seen by the reader as more susceptible to harm or likely to be taken advantage of, evoking a natural urge to protect that group. In the above example, the two victims specifically identified are chosen because they evoke a greater amount of sympathy from the reader than the 35 year-old punter who was also trampled by the horse.

Identification of vulnerable groups is common in appeals as they can compound the emotional impact of the issue the writer is discussing.