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What to do when a disabled loved one is victimized

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics most recent study on the issue, violent victimization against persons with disabilities was 2.5 times higher than the rate for persons without disabilities. The rate of serious violent crime (rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault) against persons with disabilities was more than three (3) times the rate for persons without disabilities. These figures only represent the reported and/or discovered cases.

Often, these crimes are committed by healthcare facility employees or visitors that have unfettered access to the victim at their most vulnerable times. Group homes, healthcare facilities, hospitals, cannot engage in passive negligence. Among other safeguards, these facilities must perform adequate background checks throughout the employee's employment, supervise the employee, and must have in place sufficient rules, guidelines, policies, and procedures to prevent the aforementioned abhorrent abuse. Unfortunately, these facilities too frequently fail in this regard.

If you suspect abuse has been committed against a person with disability you should immediately report the suspected abuse to your local police department, and remove the victim from the situation. Document and retain each piece of evidence supporting said abuse, as persons with disabilities often cannot document the crimes themselves. Finally, you should immediately contact an attorney. In addition to evidence spoliation, you and/or your loved one may be up against a statute of limitations issue.

While the perpetrator is typically insolvent in these situations, the facility where the abuse took place, the facility responsible for the perpetrator, and/or the facility responsible for care of the victim have insurance policies that may cover the acts of abuse. Said policies can cover any medical expenses and/or pain and suffering stemming from the abuse and provide for a long-term future safe environment for the victim.

For more information, visit our personal injury law page, or our page on nursing home neglect and abuse.

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