Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Disability Leading to Abuse

Once again, I learned an individual with a disability is being taken advantage of by a service provider. Obviously, I cannot elaborate on this specific case, but I do want to write about this all too common issue. This is an area that makes me cringe… here are some findings from my experiences, which I am sure I could back up with research articles.

People with disabilities are frequently abused because:
Unclear boundaries when dependent on others for bathing, toileting, and dressing needs.
Difficulty communicating
Limited access to proper authorities
Disability (unfortunately) causes individual to be viewed as incompetent, thus not credible.
Social delays
Minimum friendships – loneliness, desperation, vulnerable
Lack of experience and ‘street smarts.’

These all came off of the top of my head. I am sure there are many more reasons and perhaps I will write a paper on the issue. There needs to be more awareness and education. There needs to be comprehensive background checks on providers. The public needs to put their discomfort and ignorance aside to be open to the possibility of sexual abuse. More programs need to be implemented to socially mainstream individuals. Tougher laws and consequences are needed to hold perpetrators accountable.
This needs to stop!

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