Detection and prevention of abuse of adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in care services: A systematic review

Josephine Collins, Glynis H Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The abuse of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in care services seems to be relatively common, although there are anecdotal suggestions that abuse may be predictable and preventable.

METHOD: Evidence related to how abuse is detected and prevented within services was reviewed. Database and ancestry searches were conducted, and the methodological quality of studies assessed using the mixed methods appraisal tool.

RESULTS: A total of 48 articles were reviewed. The characteristics of victims, perpetrators and organisations were summarised. Several recommendations for how abuse can be detected and prevented were made, including better staff training, supervision and monitoring of services. The quality of studies limits the reliability and validity of research findings.

CONCLUSION: Risk and protective factors related to the abuse of adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities remain largely consistent. Further research is required to support the implementation of recommendations aimed to detect and prevent abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-373
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number2
Early online date26 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2022


  • Adult
  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability/epidemiology
  • Reproducibility of Results

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