A Few Facts About Elder Abuse
Four to five million elderly people in the United States, or almost 20% of the elderly population, have experienced elder abuse. It’s a growing problem in our culture, with approximately five of every six cases going unreported.
The perpetrator in most elder abuse cases (roughly two thirds, according to estimates) is a family member, most often the victim’s adult child or spouse. Most elder abuse victims depend on their abuser for basic needs, as they may be suffering from the physical or mental impairments that are common in the older segments of the population. Abusers, on the other hand, may be unprepared for the emotional and financial stress, exhaustion, resentment, etc. that can come with caring for the elderly. Studies also show the some abusers have problems with alcohol and/or drugs and may be financially dependent on the resources of the elderly person. Regardless of the details of the case, elder abuse should be reported immediately.
Reporting the Abuse
In New Jersey, the report of elder abuse is voluntary. A report will involve the name and address of the vulnerable adult (see definition below), the name and address of the caretaker (if applicable), and details regarding the extent of conditions, neglect, exploitation, or any other information that may be helpful. A person who makes a report regarding elder abuse or testifies at any proceedings is granted immunity, unless he/she is acting in bad faith or with malice. If you want to report a case of elder abuse, please contact us.
Definition of a Vulnerable Adult
A “vulnerable adult” means a person eighteen years of age or older who resides in a community setting and who, because of physical or mental illness, disability or deficiency, lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make, communicate or carry out decisions concerning his/her well-being and is the subject of abuse, neglect or exploitation or in need of protective services for the sole reason that the person is being furnished non-medical remedial treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone or in accordance with a recognized religious method of healing in lieu of medical treatment, and in accordance with the tenets and practices of the person’s established religious tradition.
Common Elder Abuse Crimes
Theft – Burglary – Robbery – Forgery – Fraud – Identity – Theft – Kidnapping – Sex Crimes – Murder – Criminal Mistreatment (Defined as a situation when a caregiver fails to provide care, causes physical injury, abandons the elderly person(s), takes charge of an elder for the purpose of committing fraud, or hides an elderly persons’ funds)
Please contact us here if you would like to report a case of elder abuse.