Abuse of Children and Disabled

abuse of disabled people and children in OhioHow widespread is the abuse and neglect of the disabled in our nation?

Here are some statistics obtained in a recent national survey:

• Seven of 10 Americans with developmental disabilities report they were sexually and/or physically assaulted, or neglected, or abused in some manner.

• More than 50% reported experiencing physical abuse and 41% said they had been sexually abused.

• Ninety percent of those revealing abuse said there had been multiple occurrences.

• Almost 60% said they had been abused on more than 20 occasions. Forty six percent said the abuse had happened too many times for them to count.

Disability and Abuse Survey

This data was supplied by a survey conducted by the Disability and Abuse Project. The organization studies and reports assaults and abuse of the disabled on a nationwide basis. The Project focuses on physical, sexual and emotional abuse of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities.

The Disability & Abuse survey had 7,289 respondents. More than 1,200 of them said they were disabled people who had been victimized by some type of abuse. Others who responded reported they were family members of the disabled, advocates, service providers and various types of professionals. The first national survey of its kind, it focused on response to incidents and attitudes about abuse or crime victimization.

Even more importantly, the survey showed half of the abuse was not reported to authorities and when reports were filed fewer than 10% of alleged perpetrators were arrested. Only one-third of victims received therapy and fewer than 5% received benefits from victim compensation programs.

Reports of Abuse Go Unheeded

In Ohio, a state reporting system for the developmentally disabled received more than 2,000 reports of sexual abuse for the five-year period from 2009 to 2014, but less than 25% were substantiated by the state. More than 8,600 reports of physical abuse were also received and slightly more were substantiated (27%) by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (ODODD), but still a very small percentage. In 2012, alone, in Ohio, there were 76 cases involving sexual abuse, 373 of physical abuse and 1,072 cases of neglect reported to the DODD.

In May 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice reported 1.3 million crimes against persons with disabilities. These were reported throughout the country from 2009 to 2013. Disabled women and men are three times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than the general population, according to the Justice Department data. Younger people and those with the most severe disabilities face the highest risk.

Disability abuse has also been viewed as a hate crime which is a criminal act perpetrated against someone because of actual or perceived traits they possess. Many of these attacks on the disabled never make it into the criminal justice system, but a few cases have been prosecuted. They often go unreported but are apparently on the rise. In 2009 the Leadership Conference Education Fund reported there were 79 hate crimes committed against the disabled in 2007—an increase from 44 reported in 2003.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, national experts and advocates who work frequently with disabled persons say most statistics are vastly understated because most instances of abuse are never reported.

In addition, the Dispatch found that compliance reviews of regulations which are to be followed by service providers for adult care homes found 38 percent were cited for failure to follow state health and safety regulations in 2012, but only 28 of those facilities had their certifications revoked.

News Investigation

In Cleveland, Ohio News Channel 5 reviewed 165 inspection reports from 2009 to 2013 and found 874 serious compliance violations including lack of first aid and CPR training; failure to check abuser registries before hiring employees; and no criminal background checks. The Channel 5 investigative report found that these service providers who violated Ohio law were rarely put out of business. In fact, people have died in the care of service providers and those providers have remained in business.

One improvement that has been made on the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities website is the establishment of an abuser registry in the form of a searchable data base. The registry can be searched by name, offense, or whether cases involved criminal charges or arbitration. The website address for the registry is newsnet5.com/ohio-department-of-developpmental-disabilities-abuser-registry. More information about the registry can be obtained by calling (614) 995-3810.

The registry was established by Ohio law to prohibit people from working with special populations of individuals if they have committed acts of abuse, neglect, misappropriation, failure to report and/or prohibited sexual relations and have thus been placed on the Abuser Registry.

Under ORC 5123.542 each entity providing specialized services under the County Board of Developmental Disabilities and each owner, operator or administrator of a residential facility or a program certified by the state to provide supported living services must annually provide written notice to each of its employed explaining the conduct for which an employee may be placed on the Abuser Registry.

Contact Us for a Private and Confidential Consultation

If you have a loved one who is being abused by a caregiver, please contact us for a free, private and confidential consultation. A free consultation is just that – Free. You will be charged nothing whatsoever and you are under no obligation to hire our law firm. Free and private consultations are a courtesy we provide anyone so they can get the professional legal advice they need.

To schedule a free consultation, please contact us by calling 1-888-283-0737, chat with one of our 24-hour live chat representatives or send us a website message.

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