Abuse, Neglect, and Crimes Against People with Disabilities
People with disabilities are at a higher risk of abuse, neglect and being victims of crime. Estimates show they are at least four to ten times more likely victims than people without disabilities are. For more information about our work in this area, keep reading.
Disability Rights California’s Investigations Unit advocates for equal protection of people with disabilities. We do this through investigations, policy, and legislative efforts. On this page, you can find information about our work on systemic reform on issues of neglect, abuse, and victimization of people with disabilities.
How Can I Report Abuse?
Abuse and neglect of dependent adults and elders is a crime. If you are a victim of abuse or neglect, or if you have knowledge of an incident, you can report it to law enforcement, adult protective services, or licensing agencies.
You can report any incident of abuse or neglect to the police or local law enforcement agency. If the incident of abuse or neglect occurred in the community, you may report the incident to Adult Protective Services. If the incident of abuse or neglect occurred in a long-term health facility, like a nursing home or board and care home, you may report the abuse to the local long-term care ombudsman. If the abuse or neglect occurred in a licensed health facility, such as a nursing home or hospital, you may also report the incident to the Department of Public Health. If it occurred in a licensed community facility, such as a group home or board and care home, you may report the incident to Community Care Licensing. If the abuse occurred in jail, you may report it to the Office of the Inspector General.
More information about how to make a report of possible abuse or neglect of a person with a disability or an elder can be found at Reporting Abuse of an Elder and Adult with a Disability (for consumers) or Reporting Elder and Adult Abuse: It is your Duty! (For mandated reporters).
This pub is for representative payees of people getting Social Security benefits. It talks about the duty to act in the best interest of the person. A payee has to manage and keep track of the person’s money, and advocate for them.
This pub lists our findings about licensing citations when people die in nursing homes. We found that licensing gave lower fines when staff contributed to the deaths.
This pub talks about housing rights when people live in a rental apartment, a room and board, or a board and care. The pub explains ways to protect housing rights when evicted. It also explains rights that protect against unsafe living settings.
Prone restraint is dangerous. This pub talks about the dangers. It asks people to stop using it. We want to make people safer.
This pub talks about how people with disabilities have a higher chance of being victims of abuse. The pub explains why this problem is a challenge for the whole state.
This pub talks about the risks of drugs to treat mental health disabilities. These drugs can be dangerous. When doctors give several at the same time, they are very dangerous. We ask doctors to put safeguards in place to protect patients.
The pub looks at how the Department of Developmental Services responded to cases of abuse. This pub talks about people who had injuries to their private parts. The pub gives the reader details on what happened in each case.
This pub talks about seclusion and restraint in schools. It talks about needed changes. We want seclusion stopped. We want restraint used only when necessary. We want agencies to make sure schools use them correctly.
This pub describes what happened when a hospital ignored a patient’s treatment wishes. When the patient was unconscious, they stopped his treatment. As a result, he died. The pub gives options for handling this kind of situation in the future.
Police are often the first ones to come when there is a 911 call. Many do not know how to help a person with a mental health disability who is in crisis. This pub talks about training police so they know how to help.
This pub looks at California’s education laws on seclusion and restraint in schools. Other states passed laws to stop using seclusion and restraint. This pub asks California to do the same.
This pub tells you about 12 cases of physical and sexual abuse. The people lived in nursing homes. The abuse was by staff. DRC looked at how the abuse response and criminal justice systems handled the cases. The report has our findings and suggestions.