Skip to main content

Reporting Elder Abuse and Neglect

Elder abuse is a widespread problem that only stands to get worse as the baby boomer generation continues getting older. By some estimates, only one in fourteen acts of elder abuse are reported. Reporting suspected abuse is critical and can save a victim’s assets, physical health, mental health, dignity, and even their life. If you believe that someone you know or love is suffering at the hands of a caregiver, you should report the abuse immediately. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and voice your suspicions. Any person who speaks out about suspected elder abuse is protected from both civil and criminal liability for reporting. Additionally, it may be appropriate to pursue damages if you or a loved one was injured by elder abuse. You should call our seasoned nursing home neglect lawyers about your unique situation.

Mandated Reporters

Certain individuals are considered mandated reporters, which means they are required to report elder abuse if they witness an incident, receive visible or audible information or evidence of abuse, or are told by an elderly person about an institute that appears to constitute abuse. Mandated reporters must report both actual and suspected elder abuse and neglect and may do so immediately either in person or by phone. They should follow up any verbal report with a written report.

If you suspect abuse at a skilled nursing facility or residential care facility for the elderly, you should report your concerns to an authority. Reporting may require you to:

  • Call 911 in an emergency situation.
  • Call local law enforcement including the police department, sheriff’s department, or the local District Attorney’s office.
  • Contact the Office of State Attorney General or the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse.
  • Use the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program.
  • Contact Adult Protective Services.
  • Contact the Department of Public Health, Licensing and Certification.
  • Contact Community Care Licensing, Department of Social Services.

The numerous state, county, and city agencies available for reporting claims of elder abuse can offer different assistance to victims. You should be aware that if you believe you will bring a lawsuit for damages, the information you provide when reporting may be used as evidence. For this reason, it can be important to consult an attorney early on in your reporting.

Local Emergency Responders, Law Enforcement, and Prosecutors

Generally, you should contact local law enforcement if you or someone you know may be an elder abuse victim. Many sheriffs and police departments have Elder Abuse Units dedicated to investigating and addressing these crimes. The reports created by be used as part of litigation to establish negligence or intentional misconduct down the road.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

Long-term care ombudsman programs advocate for the rights of residents living long-term in licensed care facilities such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities. They are trained advocates for the protection and rights of long-term care facility residents, including many elderly people, and are tasked with investigating and resolving complaints.

Adult Protective Services

Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies assist elderly people that may be victims of abuse, exploitation, or neglect. Each agency has a 24/7 hotline to respond to suspected abuse claims. Unlike some agencies, APS also investigates elder abuse claims occurring outside care facilities and may offer services to guarantee the safety of a vulnerable or endangered elderly person.

Nursing Home Litigation

In addition to reporting elder abuse to the appropriate agencies, it is also important to contact an attorney who is well versed in elder abuse litigation. If you or a loved one is being abused while in a setting with caregivers, you may be able to hold the perpetrators responsible. In some cases, elder abuse is so serious it results in an older person’s wrongful death; in those cases, it may also be appropriate to seek compensation and accountability in a lawsuit for damages.

Consult an Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect Law Firm

At a minimum, reporting elder abuse and pursuing a lawsuit may prevent the abuse/neglect from occurring to someone else’s loved one in the future. For a free and confidential consultation with an experienced elder abuse and neglect attorney, please call us directly at (866) 338-7079, or submit your inquiry by completing our online form.