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Home Issues Abuse and Neglect

The Network  was created in response to outrage after the horrific conditions at the Willowbrook State School for people with developmental disabilities were uncovered in 1972.  Our affiliates, the Protection and Advocacy agencies, were granted broad access rights to institutions and records for purposes of investigating cases of abuse and neglect. Our authority has been expanded to include community and other settings in which individuals - regardless of type of disability - reside.  That primary mission continues today - to end the abuse and neglect of people with disabilities.

Taking Action 

In 2008, NDRN launched a major investigation into the abusive use of restraint and seclusion on school children in our nation's public schools.  What we found shocked us and the nation and was the catalyst for a Congressional investigation and legislation introduced to stop the practice.  Read below the findings of our investigation.

Find more resources about restraint and seclusion here


January 2010

School Is Not Supposed to Hurt: Update on Progress in 2009

In these pages lies the culmination of a year of intense advocacy work, family support, and initial action of lawmakers to regulate restraint and seclusion in schools.

school_not_hurt2009January, 2009

School Is Not Supposed to Hurt: Investigative Report on Abusive Restraint and Seclusion in Schools

Whenever we open a newspaper, turn on the television, or go on the Internet these days, we hear about another child dying or being injured in school while being restrained or secluded. Some may think these are isolated incidents, but, when Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agencies across this country report that school children have been killed, confined, tied up, pinned down, and battered, this is clearly more than an isolated issue - it is one of national concern.


The Business Case for Preventing and Reducing Restraint and Seclusion Use published by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of the Administrator (2011)

Addressing Bullying and Harassment Matters published by the Equity Alliance, Arizona State University (2011)

Shouldn’t School Be Safe: Working Together to Keep Every Child Safe from Restraint and Seclusion in School published by TASH (2011)

June 2005: May a covered entity disclose protected health information to a Protection and Advocacy system where the disclosure is required by law? (FAQ #909, published by the Department of Health and Human Services)

P&A Investigation Reports - Selected Web Site Links

Get Help

Call your P&A if:

  • You believe staff is illegally taking your money.
  • You are being physically harmed.
  • Someone made you have sex when you did not want to.
  • Someone touched your body in a way that made you feel uncomfortable.
  • You have been verbally or emotionally bothered.
  • You are being given medication that you don’t want to take.
  • You want a discharge plan.
  • Staff is not following your treatment or discharge plan.
  • Your discharge plan says that you are ready for discharge, put you are still in the hospital.
  • You are not receiving adequate food, clothing or health care.
  • You don'’t feel safe.
See a larger list of reasons to call your P&A or CAP here.
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Find Help

If you are a person with a disability who is experiencing abuse and neglect, or know someone who is, call your P&A!
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