Preventing and Identifying Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation and Mistreatment

People with disabilities are significantly more likely than their non-disabled peers to experience some form of abuse in their lifetime, so it is extremely important that they and the people who know them best are educated about preventing, identifying, and responding to Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation, and Mistreatment (ANEM). The following information provides insight into how OPG, Inc. works to prevent, identify, and respond to allegations of ANEM.

Content Warning: The contents of this page may include references to violent acts.

ANEM Prevention Strategies

OPG, Inc. is committed to preventing abuse, neglect, exploitation, and mistreatment in the ways that can be affected through training of employees, supervision of staff members, and education provided to people supported and guardians. There are several ways that OPG, Inc. attempts prevention of ANEM, which include:

  1. Personnel screening procedures: All applicants for employment, contractors, volunteers, and interns provide a sworn statement, indicating whether, to the best of his or her knowledge, he or she has ever been convicted of a crime in this State or any other jurisdiction and that all statements in the application are true, to the best of his or her knowledge. A criminal background check through two police databases, will be conducted in all counties an applicant has resided in the past three years to ensure the absence of criminal history. A Nurse Aid check will also be conducted to ensure the applicant is in good standing. This is to ensure that OPG, Inc.’s prevents any person with a violent, neglectful, or exploitive criminal history from being hired. OPG, Inc. also contacts references and past employers for information and verification of the applicant’s character, reputation and personal qualifications.
  2. Staff training and supervision: All staff, volunteers, contractors, or interns are trained on what constitutes abuse, neglect, exploitation, and mistreatment and are trained in all prohibited interventions. Staff are trained in the rights afforded to all people to help prevent any restriction of rights that could occur if someone is unaware of all Constitutional, civil, and personal rights. All employees and agents of OPG, Inc. are also trained in the possible consequences of this behavior including disciplinary action, termination, legal action, and possible criminal sentences.
  3. Education is provided to people supported and guardians at OPG, Inc.: OPG, Inc. provides all people receiving services and/or guardians information about their rights and what constitutes ANEM to increase awareness and prevention. Staff are trained to provide rights education and prevention of ANEM education to the people they support on an ongoing and regular basis.
  4. Encouraging self-advocacy for the people we support.
  5. Encouraging the development of natural support networks.

Mandatory Reporting

By law, certain professions are required to report suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of persons who have a functional, mental, or physical inability to care for or protect themselves. Those mandated to report include:

Persons that are required to report must call or email Child Protective Services or Adult Protective Services immediately to report the suspected ANEM. Instances of ANEM must also be reported to the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services. BDDS requires Internal Investigations into these allegation to any investigation by CPS, APS, or police. Additional information regarding Internal Investigations and Incident Reporting can be found here. By joining the OPG, Inc. team, employees understand that they are mandated to report this behavior and are provided training upon hire and annually on signs and prevention strategies. If any employee is found to have committed abuse, neglect, exploitation, or mistreatment, the employee may be terminated immediately.

Identifying Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation, and Mistreatment (ANEM)

ABUSE

Abuse is an act of physical or mental mistreatment or injury that harms or threatens a person through action or inaction by another individual. Abuse may be physical, sexual, verbal or emotional. Types of Abuse include: Physical abuse: Intentional bodily injury. Sexual abuse: Non-consensual sexual contact (any unwanted sexual contact). Mental mistreatment or emotional abuse: Deliberately causing mental or emotional pain. “Medical” abuse refers to providing too much or too little medication or other needed assistance in order to exert control over the person.

Some of the signs that may lead to suspicions of abuse are listed below: Signs of physical abuse

Signs of sexual abuse

Signs of mental mistreatment/emotional abuse

Following are some examples of abusive behavior. This list is not all inclusive. Physical Abuse examples include:

Sexual Abuse examples include:

Verbal or Emotional Abuse examples include:

NEGLECT

Neglect occurs when a person, either through their action or inaction, deprives a vulnerable adult of the care necessary to maintain the person’s physical or mental health.

Self-neglect occurs when a vulnerable adult fails to provide adequately for themselves and jeopardizes their own well-being.

The following may be signs of Neglect by the self or by others:

Neglect examples include not providing basic items such as food, water, clothing, a safe place to live, medicine, supervision, or health care.

Self-neglect examples include a vulnerable adult living in hazardous, unsafe, or unsanitary living conditions or not having enough food or water.

EXPLOITATION

The following may be signs of exploitation:

Exploitation examples might include:

MISTREATMENT

Mistreatment is a general term for treating a person badly, with malicious intent. Mistreatment includes abuse, neglect, and exploitation, but also includes the intentional restriction of a person’s basic human rights for security, safety, making decisions, etc. Signs of mistreatment may indicate that abuse, neglect, or exploitation are occurring.

Signs of mistreatment may include:

Some examples of mistreatment include: A person who is not allowed to speak to others privately. A person who is not allowed to leave a room. A person whose assistive devices are not available to them (wheelchair, tablet, etc.)

In this video, people with disabilities talk about advocating to stop abuse, neglect, exploitation, and mistreatment.

This video from Indiana Disability Rights is about what to do when caregivers or family suspect abuse.

Prohibited Interventions

OPG, Inc. expressly prohibits abuse, neglect, exploitation, or mistreatment of any person receiving our services and we prohibit any other violations of a person’s rights. Any allegations of any of the following procedures will result in an investigation, an incident report to BQIS, suspension of the alleged person, and if allegations are substantiated then the employee will be immediately terminated.

List of Aversive Techniques and Prohibited Interventions

(Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services, BDDS 460 0228 022)

The following are a list of prohibited interventions (including but not limited to):

Responding to Allegations of ANEM

All allegations of ANEM, including the use of Prohibited Interventions, are subject to reporting requirements and internal investigation. The first step in these cases is to ensure the safety of the person affected. If the allegation involves an OPG, Inc. staff member, the employee will be suspended immediately from working with people at OPG, Inc. This is required by law and helps to ensure that both the employee and the person supported are granted due process. A BDDS incident report will be filed and Protective Services will be notified. In cases where criminal activity is alleged, the police will also be notified. See the section on Incident Reporting and Internal Investigations for more detail.

The following video provides some guidance about how to respond when a person reports having been abused, neglected, exploited, or mistreated.

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