HOW BIG OF AN ISSUE IS ELDER ABUSE IN CALIFORNIA?

Here in California, Adult Protective Services (APS) receives more than 14,000 reports of elder and dependent adult abuse per month, and reports are increasing.

There are an estimated 176,000* cases of reported elder and dependent adult abuse PER YEAR in California. Elder abuse is significantly underreported. For every case known to programs and agencies, 24 are unknown. For financial abuse, only one in 44 cases is known.**

THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA RECOGNIZES 6 TYPES OF ABUSE:

1) Self-Neglect – Refusal or failure to provide himself/herself with adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medication (when indicated), and safety precaution.

2) Physical Abuse – The use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment; or any physical injury to an adult caused by other than accidental means.

3) Neglect by Others – Failure to provide the basic care, or services necessary to maintain the health and safety of an adult: this failure can be active or passive.

4) Sexual Abuse – Sexual contact with a non-consenting adult or with an adult considered incapable of consenting to a sexual act.

5) Financial Abuse– The illegal or unethical exploitation and/or use of an elder’s funds, property, or other assets.

6) Mental Abuse – Verbal or emotional abuse includes threatening significant physical harm or threatening or causing significant emotional harm to an adult through the use of: Derogatory or inappropriate names, insults, verbal assaults, profanity, or ridicule; or harassment, coercion, threats, intimidation, humiliation, mental cruelty, or inappropriate sexual comments.

Abuse doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Often one type of abuse leads to another. Victims often suffer from multiple forms of abuse at the hands of their abusers. For example an older adult can be neglected by his or her family, whose only interest is control over the person’s financial assets.

*California Department of Social Services for Statewide Adult Protective Services
**Under the Radar: New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Inc., Weill Cornell Medical Center of Cornell University, & New York City Department for the Aging. (2011).

REPORT TODAY: APS: (925) 646-2854 Ombudsman: (925) 685-2070

If you have been a victim of abuse and want to know your legal rights, contact Contra Costa Senior Legal Services: (925) 609-7900
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