Who is a Mandatory Reporter of Elder Abuse?
One of the many difficulties that comes with working in the elder law field is the variance of laws, regulations, and reporting across state lines. It’s not uncommon for abusers to move their victim across the country to live with them, and more often than not litigating such a case involves coordinating reports, relatives, and documents from far-flung regions of the United States. One thing that varies widely between states is the mandatory reporting requirement; who is obligated to report suspected elder abuse, and under what circumstances they can be held accountable for their failure to do so.
All states require that certain people are required to report suspected abuse of vulnerable persons, including elders and dependent adults. Generally, these are stated to include medical professionals, mental health providers, welfare workers, law enforcement, and educators, among other such professions, although about a dozen states require that anyone who has any suspicion of abuse is legally required to report it. Many states, though not all, also specifically require that employees of financial institutions, such as bank tellers or financial advisors, report suspected abuse. Since a great deal of the abuse carried out against elders in ultimately intended to gain access to their savings or income, this last aspect is very important. While shocking reports of physical or sexual abuse of elders are often the most widely reported, financial abuse is perhaps the most widespread. Our Santa Clara elder abuse attorneys encounter numerous reports of financial abuse on a daily basis.
In California, mandatory reporters are “any person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for the care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not he or she receives compensation.” This covers a wide swath of people, and includes all of those most likely to have any knowledge of abuse. It also requires employees of financial institutions to be mandatory reporters.
Mandatory reporting is designed not only to provide a system by which to discover and prevent elder abuse, but also to hold accountable institutions that fail to carry out their duty with respect to vulnerable adults. While many mandatory reporters, such as medical professionals and law enforcement, generally take their duty seriously, others, such as caretakers and financial institutions often fail, and are sometimes perpetrating abuse themselves. By attaching penalties to the failure to report, it makes it possible for abused seniors to recoup some of the losses they suffered due to their abuse not being reported.
If you or a loved one is suffering from financial or physical elder abuse, contact the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Santa Clara elder abuse attorneys specialize in uncovering, litigating, and reversing damages suffered by victims of elder abuse, both at the hand of private individuals and multinational corporations.