Commission on Bullying Invites Testimony

Grass, lit from behind

The Commission on Bullying of elderly and disabled persons in multifamily public and subsidized housing will hold "listening sessions" in the framework of hearings for the Olmstead plan in Boston on Monday, June 26 and in Springfield on Wednesday, June 28.

  • Testimony and comments wanted on Olmstead plan, bullying
  • Advise study of bullying
  • New elder abuse phone reporting system

Confronting Bullying with Caring and Empathy

Robin Bonifas, PhD, the author of Bullying Among Older Adults
I strongly recommend Bullying Among Older Adults: How to Recognize and Address an Unseen Epidemic, a timely and important resource. There is much of value which could be adapted to settings with diverse clients including independent-living elderly and younger people living with disability, so it could be very helpful for managers, staff, and resident service coordinators working in multifamily subsidized housing. The primary audience consisting of administrators and professional staff in residential environments providing assistive, supportive, or nursing services will find this an essential guide to enhancing the quality of life and work in their residential communities.
Robin P. Bonifas et. al., Bullying Among Older Adults: How to Recognize and Address an Unseen Epidemic, (Baltimore:Health Professions Press, 2016).

How to create a healthy residential community

Pear tree in bloom

Impact of bullying on elderly and disabled

Bullying is a contagious social disease that flourishes in the absence of a legitimate social order, creates a toxic environment and an unhealthy community life, all while causing psychological and physical harm to victims.

About one quarter of elderly people living independently are the victims of bullying. Bullying targets elderly and disabled people, including those living in public or subsidized multifamily apartment housing, but it is also a problem in many upscale residential settings.

HUD Actions Aid Advocacy on Bullying

The Stop Bullying Coalition is making good progress towards remedies through the legislative process in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We are pleased by the recent efforts by HUD to apply the protections of the Fair Housing Act to protect tenants of multifamily housing from harassment. The arguments, pro and con, that are being made regarding the new HUD rule on harassment will be echoed in our commission. We can learn from both the proponents and the opponents of the HUD action, because the challenge of the Commission on Bullying will be to bring together the views of all the stakeholders and come up with proposals for solutions. And however the HUD proposal is finally formulated, there will be much that we can and must achieve at the state level.

Murder, mayhem, mobbing, and bullying in subsidized housing

Emergency vehicles

Murder, mayhem, and mobbing

When a murder takes place in subsidized housing for the elderly and for younger disabled persons, it is shocking and tragic. Subsidized housing facilities are also the scene of bullying and mobbing. All these instances of aggression disrupt community life and pose difficult challenges for management, first responders, service providers and the wider community.

Are the elderly and the disabled incompatible? Do the laws and policies which require the integration of subsidized facilities somehow lead to bullying and murder?

We Are Many Against Bullying

Today we are many who are advocating for legislation to stop bullying of elderly and disabled residents, but two years ago I was a lone advocate. With your help and advocacy we in the Stop Bullying Coalition have enlisted twenty sponsors of two antibullying bills and we have achieved momentum towards passage of legislation early in this session. And a growing awareness and concern about human and civil rights motivates other bills that address problems of safety and wellbeing in housing or protection from bullying in the workplace.