The number of people cited for abusing disabled people fell by three from the previous year to 2,520 in fiscal 2016, but cases of mistreatment at care facilities grew to a record of 401, a welfare ministry survey says.

The tally of victims stood at 3,198, down 109.

Five were found to have died mainly due to abuse, matching the record high marked in fiscal 2013, according to the survey, which began in fiscal 2012.

Among those cited for abuse, 1,538 were family members or other guardians of the victims, down 55, 581 were described as employers and colleagues, down 10, and 401 were employees at facilities for the disabled, up 62.

Seventy percent of all cases at care facilities were against mentally disabled people.

“The difficulty of communicating (with mentally disabled people) is one factor,” a ministry official said. “We want staff members of care facilities to take a course on how to respond.”

The survey did not cover the July 2016 massacre in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, that claimed 19 residents of Tsukui Yamayuri-en, a facility for the mentally disabled, because the suspect was a former employee of the facility rather than an active worker.

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