1,500 disabled Japanese abused in half-year period

Kyodo

A total of 1,505 disabled people were reported to have been abused by family members or care workers between October 2012 and March this year, according to the first nationwide survey by the health ministry on abuse of the disabled.

The survey, released Monday, showed that there were three cases in which victims died, prompting the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to pledge stronger efforts to prevent abuse against the disabled whether its through violence, verbal attacks or embezzlement of their pension money.

The study was conducted following a new law requiring those who fear a disabled person is being abused must report it to local authorities.

Of the total, 1,329 disabled people were abused by 1,527 family members such as parents and siblings in 1,311 cases, while 176 were maltreated by care workers in 80 cases. Reports were made about 939 suspected abuse cases by care workers, but local authorities were unable to determine whether maltreatment had actually occurred in many cases.

By type of abuse by family members, physical violence such as beating amounted to 790 cases, while neglect and abandonment stood at 277 cases.

Based on the reports, local authorities separated abuse victims from family members in 450 cases and urged abusers not to repeat offenses against the disabled in other cases.

Meanwhile, of the 176 people maltreated by care workers, 97 were intellectually challenged, 70 were mentally handicapped and 35 were physically disabled. Some had more than one disability.

By type of abuse by care workers, there were 46 physical abuse cases, 42 psychological abuse cases including discriminatory treatment of the disabled and 10 sexual abuse cases. Some suffered more than one type of abuse.

Separately, the welfare ministry said in June that 194 disabled people suffered abuse at their workplace in the second half of fiscal 2012.