More Than 6300 Reports Of Elder Abuse In 2020
Financial Elder Abuse Cases Up Dramatically
FBI Reports Record Numbers of Elder Abuse Cases Too
Incidents of elder and dependent adult abuse have been climbing in Santa Clara County since 2013, but the biggest spike occurred last year while residents were sheltering inside their homes. The county’s Aging and Adult Services Department (AAS) in 2018 and 2019 received about 5,900 abuse complaints, while in 2020 complaints rose to more than 6,300—a 400 case, or nearly 7% increase. AAS Director Mary Ann Warren said the rise is attributed to shelter-in-place orders over the past year combined with a rapidly-aging population. “Even when you don’t think of yourself as an elder in our community—that’s when you’re most vulnerable,” Warren said. “For a lot of our clients, it’s easier to rob one of our clients than it is to rob a bank.” Warren said complaints of financial abuse rose dramatically last year. If you or a senior loved one has been the victim of any kind of elder abuse, including neglect, physical, emotional and financial elder abuse here in Santa Clara County, call us today at (415)441-8669.
All Kinds Of Elder Abuse On The Rise
California defines nine categories of abuse that county law enforcement and social services departments are required to investigate: physical, sexual, financial, neglect, self-neglect, abandonment, abduction, isolation and emotional or psychological abuse. “This problem has been steadily increasing across the country for a number of years, and was only exacerbated last year due to the pandemic not allowing (adult protective services) social workers to go out and conduct in-person safety and wellness checks as frequently,” said Sheri Burns, executive director of the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center. “Most assessments, after a report was made to (adult protective services) were conducted over the phone which does not allow the social worker to get a true sense of what is going on.” Burns said the remote assessments also make it difficult, because the elder or dependent adult “doesn’t feel safe to share truthful information” when an abuser is present, or because they fear being taken from their home.
Across the country, statistics mirror those here in Santa Clara County. Since the pandemic started, the FBI has reported a spike in elder fraud across the nation, driven in part by COVID-related schemes. As of May 2020, the bureau received about 320,000 complaints—nearly the same number the agency had for all of 2019.
Protecting And Fighting For Senior Victim
Whenever you suspect any type of abuse of an older loved one, neighbor, or friend, report suspicions to the police and Adult Protective Services but also be sure and call qualified elder abuse counsel. While official reporting is important, victims and families need to pursue all civil remedies available under California elder abuse law, and the public authorities cannot prosecute those civil claims for you. Staff reductions at APS here in Santa Clara County have impacted the number of cases social workers can even investigate at this time. Civil claims the elder victim may have could include claims not only against an individual caregiver, for example, who may have committed the crime but also against the agency or nursing home who employed that individual and assigned them to you as a caregiver. Our lawyers handle elder abuse cases of all varieties and know the remedies and extra damages to which you or your victimized loved one is entitled. There are relatively short statutes of limitations for elder abuse claims so you need to act immediately when you think anything may be wrong. In addition to all legal and equitable remedies, California courts also award attorneys’ fees to victimized seniors in certain cases and this can ease the burden of bringing a suit.
If you need an elder abuse attorney here in Santa Clara County, call Ingrid M. Evans and the other Santa Clara County elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. today. Ingrid and our other elder abuse attorneys can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at email@example.com.