California’s Elder Abuse Laws: What You Need to KnowCoastal Legal Center
Elder abuse is a not something that usually gets much attention or reported by the media. Often times, when elder abuse occurs, the older and dependent individual is left to fend for him or herself or at the mercy of good-hearted individuals or organizations. Reporting is not something the victim initiates because they are often unaware that an abuse has occurred and neither are they aware that they can do something about it. Some websites such as Domestic Violence Law have information about elder abuse but not every victim has access to such resources. Elders who are victims of abuse are really in a difficult spot since their abusers are often their caregivers. That is why in California, elder abuse cases have a special task force assigned for investigating and prosecuting offenders of such crimes. California elder abuse laws aim to provide justice to elders who are supposed to be taken care of but are instead taken advantage of.
What are the forms of elder abuse?
Physical abuse – Doing acts that cause bodily harm or injury to an elder person is a form of elder abuse. For example, slapping, punching or pushing an elder when he/she doesn’t oblige to your request. As a matter of fact, there are no possible legitimate reasons to intentionally hurt an elder person.
Emotional abuse – This happens when a person constantly makes an elder feel agitated and fearful or feel negatively by humiliating, shaming, belittling, and/or threatening him/her.
Endangerment – This happens when a caregiver or acts or refuses to act and as an effect of the act or inaction, the elder’s well-being is harmed. For example, refusing to give medication or knowingly giving the wrong dose of medicine to an elder can constitute to endangerment and/or elder abuse.
Financial fraud – This happens when a caregiver or family member of an elder uses fraudulent reasons or premise to get money from them. Therefore, even if an elder knowingly gave permission or gave you the money, as long as it can be established that the reason or premise you gave is fraudulent, then it is considered financial fraud. For example, a home for elders who charges overpriced supplies to the elders to get more money is considered financial fraud.
Sexual abuse – Though this kind of elder abuse is not very common, there are cases wherein elders are sexually abused by their caregivers. This can happen when a caregiver unlawfully touches an elder’s private parts. However, touching the private parts as part of performing a duty is not sexual abuse.
Defending an elder abuse case may be a difficult one. However, it is not impossible especially when you hire a criminal defense attorney that is an expert and experienced in elder abuse cases. An expert elder abuse lawyer can advise you in the appropriate way to build a strong defense to get a better chance at a not guilty verdict. There are a number of possible defenses for an elder abuse case but a defense strategy is not a “one-size-fits-all” thing. Sometimes, a lawyer must use a combination of strategy or even make their own strategy to fit the circumstances of your case. In any case, asking help and getting a legal representation is important when you have been charged with an elder abuse.