Data regarding cases of confirmed abuse or neglect in large state-operated facilities in 6 states were collected and analyzed. Neglect and physical abuse were the most common abuse types. Incidents occurred more frequently on the afternoon–early evening shift, particularly between 3 and 6 p.m., and more frequently in residential than in nonresidential areas. In-transit activities were found to be relatively risky. The major risk factors for victims were maladaptive behavior and previous abuse victimization. Staff perpetrators were more likely to be males, assigned to the afternoon shift, newer employees, and previous perpetrators. Abuse reporters tended to be newer employees, and the likelihood of reporting abuse was increased by recent related inservice. The findings should assist administrators in focusing abuse prevention efforts.

This project was funded by a grant from The Association for Retarded Citizens of the United States and supported by the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of either agency.

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