War on men and children

To the Editor:

Disability Rights Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid are suing Adult Protective Services for not protecting vulnerable adults. In recent months there has been little coverage of the lawsuit. The coverage I have read fails to shed understanding on the critical issue of who the abusers and victims are. I think it's about time we start getting educated about who APS should be investigating.

While research shows that more than half of abuse of people with disabilities is abuse by family and peers with disabilities, the other half is something you don't hear a peep about and may be at the heart of why so many reports go uninvestigated and why Vermont Human Services under-funds APS.

Disability professionals (i.e., paid or unpaid caregivers, doctors, and nurses) are generally believed responsible for the other half of abuse against people with disabilities. In addition, approximately 67 percent of perpetrators who abused individuals with severe cognitive disabilities accessed them through their work in disability services. (Sobsey, D. and T. Doe. 1991. "Patterns of sexual abuse and assault." Journal of Sexuality and Disability, 9(3): 243259.)

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