A first of its kind survey conducted by Japan’s Health Ministry revealed that 1,505 of the nation’s disabled citizens suffered some form of abuse, either at the hands of their family members, or by their care workers, during the second half of fiscal year 2012. While most cases were instances of verbal abuse or theft of pension funds, the ministry stated that there were three that resulted in the deaths of the victims.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry carried out the poll over the months between October and March of this year after a law was passed last autumn that required those aware of abuse against the handicapped to report it to the authorities. Out of the total number of cases surveyed, there were 1,311 instances of abuse against 1,329 disabled people, which were carried out by 1,527 family members. In 80 cases, 176 individuals were mistreated by care workers. The survey also revealed that there were almost 940 reports of abuse by care workers filed with authorities, but the main obstacle was found to be the difficulty in determining and proving if and when mistreatment had taken place.
Among the other statistics that were revealed by the ministry, the number of physical abuse cases carried out by family members was 790, while 277 cases involved neglect or abandonment of the disabled person. In 450 cases, the authorities stepped in and removed the victims from their abusive family members, while in the others the offenders were simply warned not to continue the harmful behavior.