December 8, 2020
California takes elder abuse and neglect exceptionally seriously.
Suppose you adopt full or recurrent responsibility for the care of a vulnerable older adult, with or without compensation. In that case, you’re responsible for reporting suspected abuse or neglect to local police, Adult Protective Services, or a specialized attorney. Failing to do so could bring you legal consequences such as hefty fines and even jail time if the court has reason to believe that you willfully withheld suspicions.
State law requires immediate reporting of all forms of abuse — physical, emotional, financial, and sexual — as well as neglect, abandonment, and kidnapping. You don’t need to have a tangible confirmation of abuse; just having reasonable suspicions is cause enough to file a report.
On rare occasions, victims speak up to tell their loved ones about the abuse they suffered, but it’s more common that they decide not to do it, as they’re often afraid of retaliation or aren’t aware of what is happening. However, there are usually signs that can help you recognize abuse when it happens.
Physical mistreatment can cause bruises, bedsores, defensive behavior, or only changes in the person’s demeanor, among other signs. When the abuse is financial, you may observe suspicious behavior like failure to pay bills without apparent reasons, large withdrawals, or abrupt changes in the documentation. Whatever the reason for your worries, it’s essential that you take them seriously.
If the victim is not in immediate danger, but you suspect that abuse has happened or is happening, gather all the information you have and relay your concerns to your local Adult Protective Services, the police, or a specialized attorney.
If you’re the victim, know that many people care and want to help you get through this and pass this. We ask you to please talk to someone you trust like a doctor, friend, or a member of your family about what’s occurring. If you don’t feel safe talking to them, call us or contact us through our website.
Get a Free Legal Consultation at 888-288-0091