September 5, 2013
2012 Survey on Abuse of People with
Today the Disability and Abuse Project released the first report from the 2012 Survey on Abuse of People with Disabilities. Some 7,289 people took the survey last year. The first report focuses on the responses of individuals who were victims of abuse and families whose loved ones had been abused. The report contains dozens of findings and recommendations that, if studied and implemented, will help improve response to abuse, justice for victims, and therapy for those in need. To access the survey, findings, recommendations, and the full report, click here.
July 18, 2013
Issue Brief Released on Sexual Abuse of People with Disabilities
In March 2012, the Center on Victimization and Safety of the Vera Institute partnered with the MS. Foundation for Women on a project to learn more about sexual abuse of people with disabilities. Participants were assembled from a wide range of backgrounds to offer background information, statistics, and recommendations. Dr. Nora Baladerian was one of the participants consulted by the project.
An Issue Brief released in March 2013 contains the findings and recommendations of this project. To access the Issue Brief, click here.
July 17, 2013
Social Rights Protection: A Case Study
The Disability and Abuse Project has selected the case of In re Gregory D. to be used in an educational program focusing on the social rights of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. In this case, the California Court of Appeal ruled that a parent does not have the right to challenge on appeal a court order that violates the constitutional rights of an adult child.
The case has now returned to the trial court where, at the request of his conservators, the court is being asked to completely take away Gregory's right to make social and sexual decisions. The conservators want the court to vest authority for such decisions in them. The Disability and Abuse Project will be monitoring these proceedings and using the actions of the parties, attorneys, and the court, as a teaching tool to educate others throughout the state on how social rights were handled in this case. In re Gregory D. will become a model for how to, or how not to, protect the social rights of adult conservatees with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
For a statement about this case study, click here.
June 7, 2013
The Right of Adults to Say "No" to Forced Visitation
Two letters were recently filed in the California Supreme Court supporting the right of an adult with developmental disabilities to refuse to visit a parent if he does not wish to do so. One letter was filed by the Disability and Abuse Project. The other was filed by Dr. Nora J. Baladerian in her capacity as a clinical psychologist.
Gregory, an adult with a developmental disability, has on many occasions expressed his desire not to visit with his father. Gregory is subject to a conservatorship and the dispute over visitation was heard in Los Angeles Superior Court. Despite Gregory's wishes not to visit his father, the court ordered him to do so, and ordered the caregivers in the home where he lives to pressure him to see his father. Gregory's mother, Linda S., was a party to the conservatorship proceeding. She argued that Gregory should have the right to veto any visit. An attorney appointed to represent Gregory was mostly silent. He failed to advocate for Gregory's right to say "no" to any particular visit he did not want to participate in.
Linda S. appealed the order of forced visitation, claiming that it violated Gregory's constitutional rights. Gregory's attorney failed to participate in the appeal. The Court of Appeal ruled that Linda was not harmed by the order and therefore could not appeal. It concluded that she did not have the authority to argue for the protection of Gregory's constitutional rights on appeal. So the appeal was dismissed, without the Court of Appeal ever deciding the issue of forced visitation and the right to say no.
Linda petitioned the California Supreme Court to review the case. The petition is pending. The letters of the Project and Dr. Baladerian argued that the Court of Appeal should have appointed another attorney to represent Gregory on appeal since his own attorney failed to participate. The letters also argued that when, as here, a conservatee is ordered to visit a specific person, the conservatee should have the right to say "no" to any particular scheduled visit, and that the attorney for the conservatee should not be able to waive his client's constitutional rights in this regard.
We will advise our website visitors when the Supreme Court takes action in this case. A decision should be made before the end of June. (Conservatorship of the Person of Gregory D., Supreme Court No. S209942)
This issue is not going away. A growing number of mothers have contacted the Project about this issue. In each of these cases, an adult child with a developmental disability, has expressed a desire not to visit with the father. Often, the child acts out when the father comes near the child, and if a visit occurs, the adult child shows signs of anger and frustration, with adverse physical manifestations and resulting psychological harm, afterwards. The Project will be encouraging these mothers, and others like them, to form a support group to help each other and to advocate for the rights of their children.
April 9, 2013
Guide on Responding to Suspected Abuse
A Guide on Responding to Suspected Abuse of People with Disabilities has been added to the Resources section of the website. The Guide is for parents or family members whose loved one receives residential, transportation, day program or other services. To view of download the pdf file, click here.
May 21, 2012
Prof. Dick Sobsey Joins the National Survey Team
The Disability and Abuse Project is pleased to announce that Professor Dick Sobsey has become the Principal Survey Analyst for the 2012 National Survey on Abuse of People with Disabilities.
Dr. Sobsey is a Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton Canada. He currently serves as Director of the JP Das Developmental Disabilities Centre and Director of the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre.
He has worked with children and adults with developmental disabilities since 1968 as nurse, teacher, and transdisciplinary team leader as well as a researcher and advocate. He is the author of more than 200 books, articles, and commentaries related to health, educational, and social aspects of disability.
Prof. Sobsey will assist the Disability and Abuse Project in interpreting the results of the survey. He and other members of the National Survey Team will collaborate together to identify ways to use the results in a variety of educational, policy, and advocacy efforts
For more information about Professor Sobsey, click here.
May 1, 2012
National Survey on Disability and Abuse is Released
In collaboration with The Arc of Riverside County, the Disability and Abuse Project is releasing the National Survey on Abuse of People with Disabilities. For more information about the survey, and for a link to the survey itself, click here.
April 6, 2012
OVC report includes section on victims with disabilities
The Office for Victims of Crime issued a new report on the status of services to victims of crime. The report, "Rising to the Challenge: A New Era in Victim Services" includes a section on victims who have disabilities. That section, which begins on page 53, mentions a training manual and DVD, produced in 2009 with the assistance of Dr. Nora J. Baladerian, which has been distributed to more than 5,200 recipients. To access the complete report, click here.
March 20, 2012
A section has been added for Project Updates
A short email newsletter will be sent to supporters of the Project periodically. It will keep them advised of our activities. The first Project Update was sent today. To access this new section of the website, click here.
March 18, 2012
Resources section is added to the website
A new section for Resources has been added to the website. The first material was added to this section for use in the presentation of Dr. Nora J. Baladerian at the National Symposium on Child Abuse in Huntsville, Alabama this week. Material will be added to this section as time permits. To access the Resources section, click here.
March 9, 2012
Archives section is added to the website
The former website of the Disability and Abuse Project (2000 - 2005) is now available through the Project Archives section of this website. To access the Project Archives, click here.
February 12, 2012
Profile of Lori Brown: Forensic Interviewer
The Athens Banner-Herald published a
feature story today focusing on Lori Brown, a forensic interviewer with the
Sheriff's Office in Oconee County, Georgia. Lori will be a presenter
next month at the National child Abuse Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.
Lori is a consultant to the Disability and Abuse Project. To read the
full story about Lori,
February 11, 2012
Autism Light: Focus on Autism's Diverse Heroes
Autism Light is a blog that honors diverse heroes to the world of autism. Yesterday's blog featured Dr. Nora J. Baladerian. Alan Stokes, the author of the blog, wrote: "It is my experience both as a parent of a child with autism and as one working in the field of abuse prevention that Dr. Nora Baladerian's specialization and expertise is very much needed today." To read the full story, click here.
February 9, 2012
APA Issues Guidelines for Assessment
The January 2012 issue of American Psychologist contains several new practice guidelines for several specific populations: seniors, LGBT clients, people with disabilities, and parents. Among the 22 guidelines for clients with disabilities is one directed to disability and abuse.
Guideline 11 recommends that psychologists should strive to recognize that people with disabilities are at increased risk for abuse and they should address abuse-related situations appropriately. The guideline recognizes that people with disabilities are victims of violence and abuse at a much higher rate than the population at large. This is true for men as well as for women. Abuse and neglect can be the initial cause of a disability or abuse may exacerbate an existing disability. To read more, click here.
February 3, 2012
Combating Violence Against Women with Disabilities
Thanks to Russell Butler for bringing to our attention the
following article in the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section
Newsletter: "Barrier Free Justice: Combating Violence Against Women with
disabilities." To read the article, on page 7 of the newsletter,
Georgia school found liable for disability-abuse by teacher
An administrative law judge filed a decision yesterday finding the Fulton County School District liable for repeated physical, verbal, and emotional abuse committed by a special education teacher against students with developmental disabilities. The decision followed administrative trial arising out of a complaint filed by a parent (on behalf of her child) alleging abuse by the teacher, knowledge of the abuse by administrators, and a cover-up of the situation by the school district.
For a copy of the full decision, and quotes from various portions of it, click here.
Click here to view a new comment about the value of the newsfeed.
Click here to view and listen to a You Tube video of public defender Billy Edwards discussing how Fetal Alchohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is relevant to the work of a criminal defense attorney.
Dr. Nora's Blog has been added to the website. She, and guest bloggers, will periodically post commentaries to the blog. To access the main page of the blog, click here.
Dr. Nora Baladerian was quoted in a newstory which was added
today to the website. The Associated Press story focused on the
financial abuse of people with intellectual disabilities. To read the
story, click here.
September 10, 2011
A tribute was added for International FASD Day.