Disabled Adult Abuse: It’s Time to Take Action
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on October 12th, 2009
In a recent article, William Bender of the Philadelphia Daily News reports on the atrocity of disabled adult abuse. He rightly points out that Pennsylvania is one of only five states that have no abuse investigation law protecting these vulnerable citizens. As a result, abusers at group homes and other disabled care facilities can simply walk away with little or no repercussions if the victim does not or cannot testify against them.
This needs to stop.
By failing to advocate for mentally disabled adults, we are failing to care for a large part of our population – a population that does not have the mental capacity to care for itself. We assume that if you’re not too young and you’re not too old, then you should be able to stand up for your rights and protect yourself against others. But the truth is, these people can’t and we need to do it for them.
Some of the problem is that disabled adult abuse is widely under reported. When someone is abused, their emotional pain does not fade away with the bruises and scars. It remains inside and can cause a person to withdraw. Combined with the fact that some disabled adults cannot effectively communicate their thoughts and feelings, the abuse can go on for years without proper attention.
As a personal injury law firm in Philadelphia, MyPhillyLawyer gets calls from people who recognized signs of nursing home abuse or financial abuse of their aging parents and want to know their legal options. Regardless of whether they have a case, we praise their proactive efforts and that they spend enough time with their loved ones to recognize something is wrong.
If you have a disabled child, friend or sibling, you should do the same. Visit him or her often and pay attention to signs of physical and verbal abuse and neglect. Report any strange bruising and ask intuitive questions if a loved one refuses to talk.
Perhaps most importantly, be proactive about talking to your representatives and demanding the legal protection of your disabled loved ones. The Pennsylvania legislature has an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. Now it’s time for us to take action and make sure that it does so.
Read the full article on disabled adult abuse.