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All individuals with disabilities are at increased risk for abuse. They are abused at a higher rate than people without disabilities. They are also less likely to report abuse, and less likely to have their abuser prosecuted. Helping to decrease the abuse when possible is the responsibility of all people who work with this population. When the abuse does occur nurses are sometimes the first professionals to come into contact with people with disabilities after they have been abused. This paper discusses the importance of educating nurses on how to help increase the prosecution rate of perpetrators who abuse people with disabilities. This educational program will teach nurses about disabilities in general, how to effectively communicate with these individuals, recognition of types of abuse, how to properly assess for and document abuse, how to advocate for the victim in reporting the abuse, and community resources available for victims and how to access them. If all nurses who come in contact with individuals with disabilities are armed with the proper knowledge, they can play a positive role in advocating for victims and helping to increase prosecution rates for perpetrators.



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