From Lisa: Abuse and Neglect

  • July 10, 2017

You may already know that Disability Rights Tennessee is part of a nationwide network of agencies, all charged with providing “protection and advocacy” for people with disabilities. The Protection & Advocacy (P&A) system was initially created (and funded by the federal government through the Developmental Disabilities Act in 1975) because people with disabilities were being abused and neglected. In fact, they were being warehoused and subjected to inhumane living conditions

Times have changed. And despite there being an entire system of care providing supports and services for people with disabilities, abuse and neglect continues. Prevention of abuse and neglect remains at the center of our mission and influences everything we do at DRT. Because, still, amidst such progress, people with disabilities are more likely to be abused, neglected, and exploited than those without disabilities.

"Prevention of abuse and neglect remains at the center of our mission and influences everything we do at DRT."

The funding DRT receives allows us to monitor facilities or programs that provide services to people with disabilities. We visit board and care homes, mental health institutions, jails and prisons, nursing homes, juvenile detention facilities, residential behavioral health settings, and more. We also investigate allegations of abuse and neglect on a daily basis in those same types of facilities. DRT is able to monitor and investigate because of a mandate, granted by the federal government, to meet with clients, get records, and observe in facilities where our clients are receiving services.

Sadly, we cannot be everywhere at all times. We count on YOU - our clients, their families and friends, providers, and other advocates to be extra eyes and ears in the community to alert us to adverse situations. DRT cannot single handedly eradicate abuse and neglect. However, in partnership with the community, we can and do substantially impact these horrible practices.

--Lisa Primm, DRT Executive Director


**If you know someone in a facility where they receive services and may be experiencing abuse or neglect please fill out our Get Help form or call us at 1-800-342-1660. 



Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) is a nonprofit legal services organization that provides FREE services to protect the rights of Tennesseans with disabilities.

Middle Tennessee (Admin Office)

2 International Plaza, Suite 825
Nashville, TN 37217

Phone: 615-298-1080
Fax: 615-298-2046

East Tennessee

9050 Executive Park Drive, Suite 101-B
Knoxville, TN 37923

Phone: 865-670-2944
Fax: 865-470-7028

West Tennessee

2693 Union Avenue Extended, Suite 201
Memphis, TN 38112

Phone: 901-458-6013
Fax: 901-249-2933