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Abuse & Neglect

Conducting investigations and monitoring facilities is one of the primary jobs of a Protection and Advocacy agency (P&A). Disability Rights New Jersey is empowered by federal law to access all settings where people with disabilities live or receive services. This access authority can be used to investigate allegations of abuse or neglect and to monitor the rights and safety of people with disabilities.  

Our Authority to Investigate

The Protection and Advocacy (P&A) enabling federal statutes provide P&As significant authority to conduct an investigation of possible abuse and neglect upon either receipt of a report or complaint, or when the P&A itself has probable cause to suspect such abuse or neglect. As part of this responsibility, Disability Rights NJ may conduct a primary investigation – as the first entity to review an allegation, or a secondary investigation – in which the P&A examines how another entity investigated and responded to an allegation. Disability Rights NJ may also conduct systemic investigations when we have reasonable cause to believe that abuse or neglect may be a widespread concern in a particular setting. 

Access to Monitor Facilities 

P&As are allowed reasonable unaccompanied access to service providers under routine circumstances. The federal laws establishing the Protection and Advocacy system require that we monitor the rights and safety of residents.  Specifically, the federal laws authorize Disability Rights NJ to have reasonable unaccompanied access to facilities including all areas which are used by residents, are accessible to residents, and to programs and their residents at reasonable times, which at a minimum shall include normal working hours. Disability Rights NJ may also conduct routine monitoring to spread awareness of our programs and services. These monitoring activities can be conducted any place an individual with a disability lives, works, or receives services and can include, but are not limited to, such places as psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers, group homes, day programs, sheltered workshops, juvenile facilities, schools or jails. 

How to Report Abuse or Neglect 

Allegations of abuse and/or neglect can be made to Disability Rights NJ.  Individuals are encouraged to report allegations to the appropriate oversight agency,  and we can provide you detailed information on how and where to make your complaints based on the setting or the nature of the allegation. You may also make reports directly to us, especially if you are concerned about the response to your allegation or if you believe the abuse/neglect is systemic.