Freedom from abuse/neglect
Among the most fundamental of human rights is the right to be free from abuse or neglect. The protection and advocacy network, of which DRW is a part, was created by a federal law enacted on the heels of a 1972 investigative report of the Willowbrook Institution. In this facility, made for 4000, 6000 people with disabilities were warehoused, in tattered or no clothes, with little food or staff, and subject to rampant sexual and physical abuse. Since then, DRW, and its counterparts in all US states and territories, are charged with improving abuse response systems and responding to the abuse and neglect of people with disabilities.
Unfortunately, abuse happens everywhere, in community and facility settings. DRW investigates and responds to complaints of harm in state and private facilities, in hospitals and supported living environments. DRW's collaborative advocacy with sexual assault and domestic violence advocates, and law enforcement, is aimed at making systems more accessible. DRW works extensively with the state to advance an abuse response system that appropriately addresses the needs of people with disabilities.