Any action taken to prevent abuse or neglect from occurring in the first instance…or any action taken to protect the individual from risk of further abuse, once it has already occurred.
Abuse prevention as a "mindset"
A mindset might be defined as a mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's response to and interpretation of situations. It is important that service providing agencies and others caring for persons with disabilities adopt an abuse prevention mindset, in order to be effective in preventing abuse and neglect from occurring within their programs. Every person involved in caring for an individual with a disability performs an important role in keeping that person safe.
Why is this mindset necessary?
Some persons with disabilities, like children and elders, have been designated as a more vulnerable segment of our population requiring additional protections under Federal and State laws.
The nature and extent of the disabilities may make certain individuals more susceptible to becoming victims of abuse or neglect by persons upon whom they depend for assistance with daily living needs. For example, individuals who are non-communicative, or profoundly cognitively impaired, may be at greater risk of abuse, since they are more likely to be unable to report what has happened to them. In other instances, individuals who are physically challenged may be reluctant to report abuse or neglect out of fear of losing the assistive services of their caregiver.
It is, therefore, incumbent upon service providers and other caregivers to become educated about symptoms of abuse and neglect, risk factors, Federal and State laws and regulations, resources, and prevention principles and practices.