I have a disability. What can I do if I’m being abused by a support worker?

2. Decide if you should tell the agency about the abuse

The law says that each developmental service agency must make rules about how it provides services and supports. These rules are supposed to cover many things, including how to:

  • prevent abuse
  • report abuse if it happens

All developmental service agencies are supposed to have written information about:

  • how to complain about their services
  • what will happen after you complain
  • how long it will take to get an answer to your complaint
  • who will be involved in the complaint
  • what the agency will do to deal with the complaint fairly

The law also says the agency must make this information easy for you to understand. The agency must explain in ways that accommodate your disability or disabilities.

The agency must give you this information:

  • when you start getting services from them, and
  • every year for as long as you get services from them.

The agency must also train their staff on these policies every year. And the agency must review its policies every year to see how effective the policies are. The agency must also make any changes needed to stop abuse from happening.

If staff or other service users abuse you, and you decide to report the abuse to the service agency, you can use the agency’s rules for reporting abuse. If you don’t have a copy of the rules, contact your local Developmental Services Ontario agency and ask for them. They must give you the rules.

If you trust other people at the service agency, you might want to talk to them. You can ask them to help you follow the agency’s rules for reporting abuse.

If Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) or an agency providing developmental services suspects you have been abused by anyone, they might have to tell your substitute decision makers, if you have any. They have to get your consent first, unless they think you are not capable of giving your consent.

And if DSO or the agency thinks the abuse might be a crime, they have to call the police. They don’t have to get your consent to do this. And they are not allowed to look into the situation until the police have finished their investigation.

If you don’t trust any of the staff or management, then it might not be safe to report abuse to the agency. You might want to report the abuse to someone outside the agency instead, such as to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

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