Do You Have to Report Elder Abuse in California?
What do you do if you know or suspect that an older person is being abused? In California, there is a law – California Welfare and Institutions Code section 15630 – that requires some people to report elder abuse to authorities.
What Types of Abuse Have to Be Reported?
The types of elder abuse that must be reported are:
People who are required to report elder abuse must report it even if the elderly person doesn’t want it to be reported.
Who Is Required to Report Elder Abuse in California?
People who are responsible for caring for an elderly or dependent adult must report any abuse they know about or suspect.
- Doctors and other medical professionals
- Members of the clergy
- Administrators, supervisors and other employees of facilities that care for the elderly, including nursing homes, residential care facilities, hospitals and adult day care centers
- Any individual who is responsible for caring for an elderly adult
What Happens if You Don’t Report Elder Abuse?
If you are required by California law to report elder abuse and you don’t, you could be charged with a crime. If convicted, you could get up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. If an elderly person dies or becomes severely disabled because of unreported abuse, the penalties rise to up to a year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
How Do You Report Abuse?
If you are required to report elder abuse in California, you should report it to:
- California Adult Protective Services in the county where the abuse occurred if the abuse took place in a hospital, private home, hotel, or shelter.
- The California Long Term Ombudsman in the county where the abuse took place if the abuse was in a nursing home, adult day program or adult residential facility.
- The local police if the elderly person is in immediate danger or if a sexual assault occurred.
- Report the abuse as soon as possible by calling and filing a written report within two days.
Legal Help Is Available
If you know or suspect that an elderly loved one is being abused, an elder abuse lawyer can help. Call Garcia & Artigliere at (800) 281-8515 for a consultation with an experienced attorney who will fight for your loved one’s rights.