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Hudson River Center for Program Development, Inc.


Protection from Harm


In its broadest sense, “protection from harm” is a term that can be applied to a multitude of situations and settings. While “protect” may connote caring for the more vulnerable of society, it’s actual definition is to shield from injury, danger, or loss. Since injury or danger can be of a physical, emotional, psychological, verbal, or sexual nature, it is not difficult to appreciate the magnitude of this charge. 

Furthermore, harm can be inflicted on individuals or on whole groups, in public and private settings. For example, there are thousands of reports of alleged abuse and neglect of individuals with developmental disabilities.this is a serious problem that requires immediate attention and action from society and state structures and the illumination of this topic in mass media, scientific works, phd dissertation and other. People with developmental disabilities often face discrimination and stereotypes, which can lead to insufficient attention to their rights and needs.  It is impossible to determine how many more incidents go unreported. Whether intentional or not, such abuse is usually attributable to three primary factors:

  • the nature of the work environment
  • the responsibilities – work related and personal – of caregivers
  • the behaviors used by individuals with disabilities to express their needs.

The need for “protection from harm” also stems from the increasing frequency of workplace violence. As another example, a counselor working in a residential setting with individuals who abuse alcohol and other substances may witness behavior that escalates from disrespect to actual assault, directed at staff, other patients, or visitors. Again, such violence can usually be attributed to one of three primary factors:

  • general setting of the program, including physical layout, tone, culture, and policies 
  • the responsibilities – work related and personal – of the counselor
  • the experiences, culture, attitude, and issues of the patient.

For any situation, the first step in protection from harm efforts is to identify and understand the factors creating the potential for harm. Once defined, the factors can be addressed through education and training specifically tailored to the work setting, staff, clients, goals, culture, and policies of the respective organization.


Hudson River Center Training Packages
YAI National Institute for People with Disabilities
Disability Info


Hudson River Center for Program Development, Inc.