The Rhode Island Senate has approved elder abuse legislation which requires health care providers to alert law enforcement if they believe an elderly person is the victim of abuse or neglect. The new legislation also adds a provision that could result in a fine of up to $1,000 for anyone, not only mandated reporters, who fail to report elder abuse. An article on the issue can be found here:
In California, it is a misdemeanor if a mandated reporter fails to report elder abuse. They can be charged a fine of up to $1000 and/or be sentenced to a maximum of six months imprisonment. California Welfare and Institutions Code 15630 defines a mandated reporter for elder abuse as anyone who:
“has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not that person receives compensation, including administrators, supervisors, and any licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elder or dependent adults, or any elder or dependent adult care custodian, health practitioner, clergy member, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency.”
Unlike Rhode Island, California law does not currently require everyone to report elder abuse. If the Rhode Island elder abuse legislation proves to be successful, perhaps California may consider a similar legislation to reduce the number of unreported elder abuse cases on a statewide level.
Abuse can continue and often escalates if there is no intervention. It is important to remember that as a person reporting abuse, you are shielded from both criminal and civil liability.
Jeff Aidikoff is an elder abuse attorney in Beverly Hills, CA. For questions or a free consultation call 800-981-5932.