Over 2,600 people with disabilities abused in Japan in fiscal 2013: gov’t survey

Over 2,600 people with disabilities abused in Japan in fiscal 2013: gov’t survey

From The Mainichi News

A total of 2,659 people with disabilities in Japan were subjected to abuse in fiscal 2013, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The ministry survey revealed that the number of reports and guidance requests over abuse cases involving people with disabilities at local governments totaled 7,123. Of those, 2,280 cases were acknowledged as abuse. The results showed that the number of abuse cases has increased at welfare facilities compared to figures reported in the last half of fiscal 2012.

According to the study, a total of 263 abuse cases at care facilities were reported in fiscal 2013, which accounted for 11.5 percent of all cases reported in the period, up from 80 cases in the last six months to March 2013.

Types of abuse include physical maltreatment at 56.3 percent, psychological and verbal abuse at 45.6 percent, sexual abuse at 11.4 percent, financial abuse such as exploitation at workplaces at 6.8 percent and neglect at 4.6 percent, among others.

Meanwhile, 1,764 cases of abuse by family members, some 77.4 percent, were reported. The most common type of abuse was physical abuse at 63.3 percent, followed by psychological abuse at 31.6 percent, financial abuse at 25.5 percent and neglect at 18.9 percent.

The most common type of abusers at care facilities were care workers who assist those with disabilities at 43.7 percent. In addition, some 40 percent of abuse victims were categorized as level five or six disability on a level from one to six with six being the most severe, showing a tendency for people with severe disabilities being at risk of being abused.

The law on anti-violence toward people with disabilities obliges care facility staff to report abuse cases as soon as they witness them. However, only 11.7 percent of reports came from care facility staff. A health ministry official said local governments’ fully-fledged awareness campaigns and training toward acknowledging abuse cases may have attributed to the increased number (compared to the last survey), but it seems to be difficult for care facility staff to report abuse cases at their workplace.

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