Progress in Reporting Abuse at Group Homes

An article in The New York Times reports that Roughly 40 percent of the allegations of physical abuse of the developmentally disabled at group homes and institutions in New York in recent months were not reported to law enforcement authorities. Courtney Burke, the new commissioner of the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, said that:

… she had put in place a number of measures to raise hiring standards and improve the reporting of abuse. Among them, she said she had ordered employees to notify law enforcement officials of episodes of physical and sexual abuse that might be a crime….

Ms. Burke also proposed legislation that would bar the agency from hiring people convicted of violent crimes or sex offenses; it would not prohibit employing other convicted felons. The bill would make it clear that an individual with a developmental disability receiving state services could not legally consent to sexual contact with a staff member; the measure is aimed at curbing sexual assaults.

These measures all seem like common sense, so it is difficult to understand why they haven’t been standard practice already.

A related story was aired on National Public Radio (NPR) today, as part of Dick Gordon’s “The Story“:  Abuse in Assisted Living Facilities.

When Randy Trout began looking for an assisted living facility for his mother, Alva, he took care to find a place that was clean and pleasant, so his mother would be comfortable. He thought he’d found that, but then a series of events at the facility made him worry. Eventually, his mother died, and Randy, a former police investigator, became convinced that neglect at the assisted living facility played a role.

To listen to this story, click here:  Abuse in Assisted Living Facilities (scroll to the bottom of the page and click the arrow under “LISTEN NOW!”

To read the full article in The New York Times, click here:  Progress Claimed in Reporting Abuse at Group Homes

We write a lot about abuse in nursing homes, and that continues to be a major problem. But these stories highlight that abuse is not limited to the elderly. Anyone who lives in a group home or assisted living facility is at risk. (We recently wrote a blog about the next group to be at major risk of abuse: people with autism. To read that blog, click here: People with Autism at Risk)

At HensonFuerst, we remain committed to speaking for those who have no voice, those who are at the mercy of caretakers. If you think someone you love has been injured as the result of abuse or neglect in a nursing or care facility, feel free to contact us to discuss your legal options. We’re available 24/7 at 1-800-4-LAWMED. Or, visit our website at

If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.

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