"As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected
and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever
~Clarence Darrow

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Re-opening Pandora's Box

You might recall our previous discussion around the Protection of Persons in Care Act. Initially passed in 2004, the Act did not come into force until October, 2007.

Across the province, 1,625 residents with developmental disabilities are housed at licensed group homes and residential centres that are covered by the Act; apparently, one of the highest per capita rates in Canada.

And since it's passage, we have been hearing reports about investigations following complaints.

The most recent being the nineteen cases of abuse confirmed at the adult residential care centre located in Riverton, Nova Scotia.
The list of founded abuse cases at Riverview — which means an incident is accepted as having happened — includes four instances where staff physically harmed residents.

The 89-year-old centre houses about 100 residents with varying mental disabilities, including Down syndrome and long-term mental illness, with some residents sharing rooms and living in what are called "secure units." It also includes several smaller detached homes.

The cases of abuse were investigated under the Protection of Persons in Care Act, which defines physical abuse as actions "resulting in pain, discomfort or injury, including slapping, hitting, beating, burning, rough handling, tying up or binding."
The Riverview situation involved two founded cases of neglect by staff, defined as failure to provide adequate care; two cases of emotional abuse by staff, defined as "causing emotional harm," by actions such as intimidation or humiliation; and eleven cases were of residents abusing other residents, with 10 of those listed as instances of "non-consensual" sexual contact and one of physical abuse.

Disability groups are, predictably, up in arms.


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