Know Abuse. Report Abuse. Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Awareness.
Elder Abuse Hotline Call: 1-877-4R SENIORS (1-877-477-3646)
Long-term Care Ombudsman Related Reports Call: 1-800-334-9473
Adult Protective Services (APS) is a social services program provided by state and/or local governments nationwide serving older adults who are 60 years and older and adults with disabilities (18-59) who need assistance. APS Professional investigate cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation, working closely with a wide variety of allied professionals such as physicians, nurses, paramedics, firefighters and law enforcement officers.
A Mandated Reporter is any person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for the care or custody of an elder/dependent adult, whether or not he/she receives compensation, including administrators, supervisors, and any licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elder/dependent adults, or any elder/dependent adult care custodian, health practitioner, clergy member, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency (WIC 15630[a]).
Additionally, all officers and employees of financial institutions are mandated reporters of suspected financial abuse of an elder/dependent adult (WIC 15630.1[a]).
Any mandated reporter who suspects abuse, knows of it, or witnesses it, must report it.
Failure to report, or impeding or inhibiting a mandated report of physical abuse, abandonment, abduction, isolation, or neglect of an elder/dependent adult, is a misdemeanor that is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months, or a fine of up to $1,000, or both. If the mandated reporter willfully fails to report, or impedes or inhibits a report of abuse and the abuse results in the victim’s death or great bodily injury, the reporter may be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year or a fine of up to $5,000, or both (WIC 15630[h]).
Failure to report financial abuse is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or if the failure to report is willful, a fine up to $5,000 (WIC 15630.1[f]).
Administrators or employees of any of the following public or private entities, or anyone providing care or services for elders/dependent adults, including members of the support/maintenance staff:
This does not include employees who do not work directly with elders/dependent adults as part of their official duties.
Financial Institutions include:
Mandated reporters must report the following types of elder/dependent adult abuse:
Abandonment is the desertion or willful forsaking of an elder/dependent adult by anyone having care or custody of that person under circumstances in which a reasonable person would continue to provide care and custody (WIC 15610.05).
Abduction is the removal of an elder/dependent adult from California and the restraint from returning to California, or the restraint from returning to California when the elder/dependent adult does not have the capacity to consent to the removal/restraint or, when an elder/dependent adult is conserved and his/her conservator or the court has not consented to the removal/restraint (WIC 15610.06).
Financial abuse is taking, hiding, or using the property of an elder/dependent adult wrongfully or with intent to defraud or both; assist in the taking, hiding, or using the property of an elder/dependent adult wrongfully or with intent to defraud or both; taking, hiding, or using the property of an elder/dependent adult by undue influence. (WIC 15610.30[a]).
Undue influence is excessive persuasion that causes another person to act or refrain from acting by overcoming that person’s free will and results in inequity (WIC 15610.70[a]).
Isolation is deliberately preventing an elder/dependent adult from receiving his/her mail or phone calls; falsely telling a caller or visitor that an elder/dependent adult is not present or does not want to talk to him/her for the purpose of preventing the elder/dependent adult from having contact with family members, friends, or other concerned individuals; false imprisonment of the elder/dependent adult; and physical restraint of an elder/dependent adult for the purpose of preventing him/her from meeting with visitors.
Note: These acts may not constitute isolation if they are performed in accord with the instructions of a licensed physician or in response to a threat of danger to a person’s physical safety or property (WIC 15610.43).
Neglect is the negligent failure of any person having the care or custody of an elder/dependent adult to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable person in a similar position would provide.
Note: The definition of ‘neglect’ also includes self-neglect, which is the negligent failure of an elder/dependent adult to exercise the degree of self-care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise (WIC 15610.57[a]).
Physical Abuse is assault, battery, assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury, unreasonable physical constraint, prolonged or continual deprivation of food or water, sexual assault (which includes rape, rape in concert, spousal rape, incest, sodomy, oral copulation, sexual penetration, and lewd or lascivious acts), and use of a physical or chemical restraint or psychotropic medication for punishment, for a period beyond that for which the medication was ordered by the physician/surgeon providing medical care, or for any purpose not authorized by the physician/surgeon (WIC 15610.63).
Mandated reporters are encouraged to make a report when they have knowledge of, or reasonably suspect, that an elder/dependent adult is suffering any other type of abuse (WIC 15630[c])
Self-neglect is when an individual is no longer able to take care of their basic needs. Some signs of self-neglect include malnutrition, poor hygiene, and an unkempt living environment.
Psychological abuse is the willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, or other verbal or nonverbal conduct.
Any concerned individual can report abuse in good faith with absolute confidence.
All mandated reporters are legally required to report elder/dependent adult abuse. A mandated reporter is anyone who is responsible for the care or custody of an elder or dependent adult. These include caregivers, health practitioners, clergy, social services staff, and those who work in financial institutions.
For learning more about mandated reporters, click here:
When abuse, neglect, or exploitation is not validated: The case is closed. Staff may refer the client to other resources in the community if appropriate. When abuse, neglect, or exploitation is validated: In-home staff arrange for services to alleviate or prevent future maltreatment, as appropriate. A protective services client who has the capacity to consent has the right to:
The majority of abusers are known and trusted individuals, particularly family members and caregivers. Abuse can also occur at long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Although there is no specific profile of an abuser, there are some behavioral signs that may indicate a problem, including acting indifferently towards the elder/dependent adult, threatening or blaming the elder/dependent adult, or preventing the elder/dependent adult from speaking or seeing visitors. A history of substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior, and family violence are also common warning signs.
This depends on where the abuse is taking place. If the abuse is taking place in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home, contact Long-Term Care Ombudsman at 800-334-9473 or 800-231-4024. If the abuse is taking place anywhere else, contact Adult Protective Services (APS) online or by calling the 24-Hour Abuse Hotline at 877-4-R-SENIORS (877-477-3646). If the abuse includes serious physical injury, contact local law enforcement first. In addition to calling, you must also file a written report if you are a mandated reporter.
By law, the identity of the reporter is confidential. There are, however, certain circumstances where this information will be shared with agencies involved with helping the victim.
Los Angeles County Adult Protective Services (APS) workers are usually the first to respond to reports of elder/dependent adult abuse. In long-term care facilities, Long-Term Ombudsman and Licensing Agency may investigate the allegations. Depending upon the situation, Law Enforcement and other agencies such as Building and Safety or Department of Mental Health may also be called upon to investigate.
In order to ensure the privacy of clients, LA County Adult Protective Services (APS) is legally restricted from providing confirmation, updates, or any other information regarding the existence of current or past investigations (WIC 15633). Upon receipt of a report, an APS social worker may contact you to obtain further information about the incident you reported; however, the social worker will not be able to provide ANY information regarding the APS client/investigation. If you obtain any further relevant information, you should contact APS and make another report.
Note: There are confidentiality exceptions. APS staff may share information with agencies that are working to assist APS clients.
As a mandated reporter, you are legally obligated to report abuse, even if a supervisor/administrator advises against it.
Failing to report is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to 6 months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. If the abuse results in death or severe disability, the punishment includes imprisonment for up to 6 months, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. Civil suits are also possible; California malpractice carriers have noted a recent increase in lawsuits for failure to report elder/dependent adult abuse.
A mandated reporter, who is acting in good faith, is protected from criminal and civil penalties when reporting suspected abuse, even if an investigation does not find evidence of abuse.
For complaints regarding long term care, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program investigates elder abuse complaints in long-term care facilities and in residential care facilities for the elderly. The primary responsibility of the program is to investigate and endeavor to resolve complaints made by, or on behalf of, individual residents in these facilities, including nursing homes, residential care facilities for the elderly, and assisted living facilities. The goal of the program is to advocate for the rights of all residents in long term care.
For complaints regarding suspected abuse in long term care facilities, please call (800) 334-9473, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. or (800) 231-4024, After Hours.
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