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).
Disability Rights California (DRC) found the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which licenses nursing homes, does not consistently impose adequate penalties when a resident’s death is caused by staff misconduct. As a result, nursing home residents remain in harm’s way.
"Armando Reagan was 30 when he bled to death, rushed from a Southern California nursing home as blood soaked his sheets, pooled on the floor and as he pleaded with staff: “Help! Help! I do not want to die!” according to state public health records.
"Some of the victims can't speak. They rely on walkers and wheelchairs to leave their beds. They have been robbed of their memories. They come to nursing homes to be cared for.
"OAKLAND — People in the industry call it “housing of last resort.”
Scattered throughout Alameda County, there are perhaps 200 to 300 such facilities — some in the form of single-family homes tucked into quiet residential neighborhoods or single-room occupancy hotels dotting downtown Oakland, Hayward, Berkeley and Alameda. Still others are nondescript apartment buildings lining main streets in East and West Oakland. The one thing most have in common is the people living there have few other options.
"South LA Strangulation Still Haunts Detective
"I can only imagine the fear he must've had as this was happening to him. And the fact that he suffered," he said.
"One out of every 100 special education students was restrained by school personnel or secluded in school from his or her peers in the 2013-14 school year, presumably to quell behavior that teachers considered disruptive or dangerous.
"An 80-year-old dementia patient fell from his bed and died at Valley Convalescent Hospital in February, something a state public health investigation determined this month came as a direct result of poor care at that facility.
"Kaden Perrizo was 11 years old when he entered an “orthopedic impaired” class at Taylor Elementary in Santa Clara, California. Kaden suffered an immune system disease as a toddler that left him unable to walk without leg braces or to speak more than a few words; his parents say he functions cognitively like a 4-year-old.