Elder Abuse is a widespread but hidden problem where, for every abuse reported, as many as 23.5 others go unreported. For financial exploitation, the ratio of unreported cases is estimated at an alarming 43.9 : 1!
Under California Law, Elder Abuse is both a criminal and civil offense. The primary focus of this website is on abuse that occurs in Long Term Care facilities and on Elder Financial Abuse.
In California, elders are defined as persons 65 years and older.
Under California law, elder abuse can be both criminal and civil.
Criminal elder abuse occurs where any person who knows that a person is an elder and willfully causes or permits any elder to suffer, or inflicts unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering on the elder. It also covers situations where a person willfully causes or permits the elder to be placed in a situation in which elder’s health is endangered. (Penal Code Section 368)
Civil law defines civil elder abuse to mean physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment resulting in physical harm or pain or mental suffering. It also means the deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering. (Welfare & Institutions Code Section 15610.07)
Possible Physical Abuse Indicators: The following are clues for recognizing signs of physical elder abuse. It is not intended to be exhaustive.
Possible Relationship Abuse Indicators
When you know about or even suspect Elder Abuse, REPORT IT - There is no excuse for Elder Abuse!
In cases where the elder is at risk of immediate harm, CALL 911!
National Center for Elder Abuse Website link
All concerned citizens and all mandated reporters.
Administrators, supervisors, and any licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elder; any elder or dependent adult care custodian, health practitioner, clergy member, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency; any person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for the care or custody of an elder, whether or not he or she receives compensation.
Mandated reporters MUST report actual or suspected physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect which is observed, evident, or described.
Form SOC 341 must be completed and signed by the mandated reporter.
Immediately or as soon as possible by telephone, followed by a written report within two (2) working days.
Failure to report, impeding or inhibiting a report of, physical abuse, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect of an elder is a misdemeanor, punishable by six months in the county jail and a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000).
Any mandated reporter who willfully fails to report physical abuse, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect of an elder where that abuse results in death or great bodily injury, shall be punished by not more than one year in a county jail and a fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000).
Where to Report
If you witness a case of elder abuse in a Long Term Care Facility (Skilled Nursing Facility or Residential Care Facility for the Elderly), call the Sonoma County Ombudsman Program at (707) 526-4108 or the Ombudsman Crisis Line (800) 231-4024.
If you witness a case of elder abuse in the community, call Adult Protective Services at (707) 565-5940 or (800) 667-0404.