the advocacy monitor

Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Abuse in Government Funded Residential Facilities

Approved by the NCIL membership June 2012

WHEREAS, the extent to which people with disabilities, residing in state, local and federally funded institutions are subjected to abuse is underreported, unknown and generally remains hidden from public scrutiny; and

WHEREAS, the population of individuals with disabilities includes children, adults and elders, residing in a variety of settings such as schools, nursing homes, hospitals, group homes, etc.; and

WHEREAS, the continued segregation of this population often results in a lack of disciplinary action, criminal charges, criminal prosecution and offender accountability against those perpetrating these acts; and 

WHEREAS, people with disabilities, residing in state, local or federally funded institutions generally do not receive necessary supports and services in response to violence they have experienced; and

WHEREAS, the lives and well-being of our brothers and sisters in institutions have historically been disregarded, and this trend continues despite lessons that should have been learned from historic atrocities like those documented by Burton Blatt (1966), four (4) Northeastern Institutions and Geraldo Rivera (1972), Willowbrook.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED: that NCIL acknowledges that the abuse being endured by individuals who remain in institutions can no longer be tolerated and that the perception of “out of sight, out of mind” has led to a system that has failed generations of people with disabilities.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that NCIL will encourage its membership to be the voice of those who are silenced by circumstances and speak out on their behalf; to express outrage when these cases come to light and to promote the humane treatment of people with disabilities living in institutions; and finally, be it further resolved that NCIL will advocate to ensure that every person who is institutionalized can have access to the individualized services and supports that are necessary for each individual to live in the most integrated setting appropriate to each individual’s choice and abilities; and that no individual wishing to leave the institution and live more independently will be subjected to intimidation or discouragement during this process of pursuing the promise of the ADA to live a life with dignity and respect in the community.”.

Respectfully submitted by The NCIL Task Force on Violence and Abuse of People with Disabilities

List of Supporters

  • Abilities in Motion, Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Appalachian Center for Independent Living, Charleston, West Virginia
  • Center for Independent Living Opportunities, York, Pennsylvania
  • Center on Victimization and Safety at the Vera Institute of Justice, New York
  • Community Resources for Independence Inc., Erie, Pennsylvania
  • Delta Resource Center for Independent Living, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
  • Idaho State Independent Living Council, Boise, Idaho
  • IndependenceFirst, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Independent Resources, Inc., Wilmington, Delaware
  • Living Independently For Everyone – CIL, Pocatello, Idaho
  • Mainstream Center for Independent Living, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Mountain State Centers for Independent Living, Huntington, Beckley, West Virginia
  • NCIL ADA/Civil Rights Subcommittee
  • NCIL Mental Health Task Force
  • Northern West Virginia CIL, Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Pennsylvania Council on Independent Living, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Progressive Independence, Inc, Norman, Oklahoma
  • Spa Area Independent Living Services, Hot Springs, Arkansas
  • SKIL Resource Center, Parsons, Kansas
  • Sources for Community IL Services, Inc, Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas, Topeka , Kansas
  • Three Rivers Center for Independent Living, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Montpelier, VT
  • West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council, Charleston, West Virginia
  • Jaclyn Michelle Kratzer, Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Kimball Gray, Maryland
  • Jan Lilly-Stewart, Director Fair Shake Network
  • Mark Derry, Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Jan Derry, Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Mary Oschwald, Portland, Oregon
  • Robbie Barrutia, Idaho
  • Jami Davis, Idaho
  • Leslie Myers, Wisconsin
  • Roberta Sick, Arkansas
  • Stephanie Sanford, Kansas
  • Kim Brittenham, Vermont