People with disabilities were three times more likely to be a victim of violent crime than the general population, according to the Crimes against Persons with Disabilities, 2009-2013 (Summary May 2015) published by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Individuals with a developmental disability are at greater risk for abuse because they depend on others for physical assistance and support.
It's important to understand what abuse is, some of the symptoms of possible abuse, and how to respond to alleged, suspected, or actual occurrence of abuse. This can stop further abuse, ensure victims get the help they need, and prevent abusers from victimizing others.
Physical abuse[i] is the use of physical force that can reasonably be expected to result in physical harm or serious physical harm.[ii] This can include hitting, slapping, pushing, or throwing objects at an individual.
Sexual abuse[iii] [iv] is unlawful sexual conduct, contact, or activity. This can include rape, public indecency, importuning, and voyeurism.
It's important to know the signs of possible abuse so that it can be looked into and stopped. Remember that others around that individual may notice signs, and can help as well.
Signs of potential physical abuse
Signs of potential sexual abuse
When suspected abuse is not reported, the individual may continue to be victimized and remain at risk. Needed services and supports to assist the individual in response to such an event cannot then be provided. That's why it's important to immediately report all cases of alleged, suspected, or actual occurrence of abuse. Ohio's system relies on quality reporting, and thoroughly investigates every case.
If you suspect or witness abuse:
The law says certain people MUST make a report if they have good reason to believe that abuse or neglect has happened; this is called mandated reporting. Mandatory reporters include DD personnel, doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers, mental health professionals, counselors, social workers, teachers and others. DODD takes non-reporting very seriously. Every case of non-reporting is investigated, and can result in serious consequences for the person who failed to report.
[i] Ohio Administrative Code 5123:2-17-02: Addressing major unusual incidents and unusual incidents to ensure health, welfare, and continuous quality improvement
[ii] Ohio Revised Code 2901.01: General provisions definitions
[iii] Ohio Revised Code 2907.01:Sex offense general definitions
[iv] Ohio Revised Code 2907.09: Public indecency