Abuse and Neglect of People with Disabilities

If you are being abused or neglected or think you know someone who is, you should call The Michigan Department of Human Services’ abuse hotline.  For adults the number is 1-800-966-6228.  For children, the number is 1-800-942-4357.


Signs of abuse and neglect of people with disabilities are very similar to those of people without disabilities.  Common physical signs include cuts and bruises, sexually transmitted diseases, dental injuries, welts, and broken bones.  Behavior signs can include aggression, withdrawal, eating disorders, avoidance of certain people or places, self destructive acts, and fearfulness.  Some of these behaviors can be characteristics of disabilities, making identification of abuse more difficult.


People with disabilities can be easy targets for abuse and neglect because they sometimes have trouble expressing themselves verbally, and understanding what others are saying to them.  People with disabilities often have many people coming into their homes to give them assistance.  Family alcohol or drug use, isolation, a history of violence, and other psychological environmental stresses have been associated with abuse and neglect.


Services that support families include disability related training, early intervention, early childhood special education, counseling, respite care, informal supports, child evaluations, supports coordination and help in securing benefits.  Advocacy organizations like The Arc can also be a source for information and referral for support services.


Anyone suspecting abuse should report the abuse and be made aware that there are abuse telephone hotlines.  The Michigan Department of Human Services offers two hotline numbers.  If you suspect an adult with a disability is being abused or neglected, you can call 1-800-966-6228.  If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you can call 1-800-942-4357.



Phone code: 1505

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