Disabilities Guidebook: The Domestic Abuse Projects (for Disabled Adults)

Disabilities Guidebook: The Domestic Abuse Projects (for Disabled Adults)

Last updated: July 2003

(Chapter 12 Section 1 from Guidebook of Laws and Programs for People with Disabilities)


Domestic Abuse of Disabled Adults Intervention Act

What Is It? This is an Illinois law that creates the Domestic Abuse Project. The Project receives and acts on reports of possible abuse or exploitation of persons with disabilities.

What Is Its Purpose? To assure that reports of abuse are investigated, and if founded, to develop service plans to stop the abuse.

Who Can Benefit? Any adult person with a disability who is being subject to abuse or exploitation, and any other person who wishes to make a confidential report of such abuse or exploitation.

I. Your Legal Rights

Reporting and Eliminating Suspected Abuse

The Domestic Abuse Project
The Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS) has created the "Domestic Abuse Project." This project has a statewide telephone number which any person may use to report the alleged or suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult with disabilities. The program investigates these reports and assists the abused person in obtaining services necessary to prevent further abuse.

In order to make a report, any interested person can call the Statewide Reporting Hotline at (800) 368-1463.

The identity of the person making the report is confidential and cannot be disclosed except with his or her written consent or by court order. Any person who makes a report or provides information in connection with its investigation is protected from any criminal or civil liability for those actions.

Note: The effectiveness of this Project is subject to the availability of appropriated funds.

Investigations
When it receives a report, the Project makes an investigation to determine whether the report is founded. The Department of Human Services-Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducts this investigation.

The OIG must begin the investigation within 7 days of the report, or within 24 hours of the report if there is a risk of immediate danger to the adult. The OIG must start investigations of reports involving only "exploitation" within 30 days.

The investigation must include a face-to-face visit with the adult with disabilities who is the subject of the report. The investigation may also include a visit to the home and interviews with others who may have knowledge of the facts.

The OIG will not perform the investigation without the consent of the adult with disabilities who is the subject of the report. If the adult is unable to grant consent because of a physical or mental impairment, or is unable to understand or communicate, then ORS may seek the appointment of a legal guardian to grant consent.

Interference with Reporting or With the Investigation
It is against the law for anyone to interfere with or prevent an adult with disabilities from making a report of abuse. Likewise, no one may interfere with or obstruct the performance of an investigation of a report by OIG, if the adult with a disability consents to the investigation.

If someone does obstruct or interfere with an investigation, local law enforcement agencies are required to assist the OIG investigator in obtaining a search warrant. If there is a clear risk of immediate serious harm to the adult with disabilities, the law enforcement officer may knock and enter the premises without obtaining a warrant.

The Service Plan
After conducting the investigation, OIG may determine that abuse, neglect or exploitation has occurred. In that event, ORS and the adult will create a "service plan" to eliminate further abuse. This plan may include assistance under the Home Services Program so that the adult with disabilities will not need to rely on an abusive family or household member. The plan also may include such things as a referral to the local legal aid program for assistance in obtaining an Order of Protection, or a referral to the Office of State Guardian for assistance in removing an abusive guardian.

II. Where to Go for More Information

Statutes and Regulations
The Domestic Abuse of Disabled Adults Intervention Act can be found at 20 ILCS 2435/1.

The state regulations governing confidentiality of reports under the Act can be found at 89 Ill.Admin.Code 505.80.

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