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What Constitutes Elder Abuse in California?

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Although the concept of elder abuse is a familiar one, intentionally causing harm to someone of advanced age seems incomprehensible. However, elder abuse is a pervasive problem. According to two studies cited by the Nation Center on Elder Abuse, approximately one in ten elders suffered from at least one type of abuse in the year preceding the study. At Silva Injury Law, we proudly stand up for the rights of all citizens, regardless of age, and do everything we can to hold those who engage in elder abuse accountable for their actions.

What Is Elder Abuse?

While not every state defines what constitutes elder abuse, California is one of the states that does. Penal Code 368 (PC 368) outlines the crime of felony elder abuse. Under PC 368, there are a few ways someone can commit elder abuse.

For example, it is elder abuse for someone to willfully cause or permit an older person to suffer unjustifiable pain or mental suffering. It is also elder abuse for someone caring for an elder or dependent adult to cause or permit them to be injured. Finally, it is elder abuse for someone to cause or permit an elder to be put in a situation where their health is endangered.

Examples Of Elder Abuse Crimes

There are some common examples of elder abuse that occur with startling frequency. Some of the most common examples of elder abuse include the following.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is one of the most frequent forms of elder abuse. Physical abuse involves a caretaker intentionally inflicting bodily injury to an older adult. Examples of physical abuse include hitting, shoving, beating, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching, and burning. Additionally, physically “punishing” an elder is a form of elder abuse, regardless of the elder’s actions leading up to the assault.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse includes any type of non-consensual sexual contact, up to and including penetration through force. Of course, the term sexual contact covers more than penetration. It includes touching a person’s genitals or forcing them to touch another person’s genitals. It is also sexual abuse for a person to coerce or threaten an older person into consenting to sexual activity.

Financial Abuse

According to some studies, financial abuse is among the most common types of elder abuse. Financial abuse typically involves a caretaker tricking an older person into giving them cash or access to their accounts. However, financial abuse also frequently involves the outright stealing of an elder’s money or belongings.

Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse involves the intentional infliction of emotional pain, distress, or anguish through verbal or non-verbal acts. Examples of psychological abuse include isolation, harassment, humiliation, insults, threats, and verbal assaults.

Neglect

Another common form of abuse—especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic—is neglect. Neglect involves the refusal or failure to provide the appropriate level of care to a person of advanced age. Examples of neglect include withholding food or water, failure to care for a person’s hygiene, withholding of medication, and allowing a person to unnecessarily suffer.

Of course, detecting elder abuse is not always easy. Often, older people fear being seen as a “burden” on their loved ones and don’t speak up. Other times, a nursing home resident is non-verbal due to physical or mental health conditions. Thus, it is essential that families are vigilant in monitoring for signs of elder abuse.

Do You Want To Learn More About What Constitutes Elder Abuse In California?

If you are concerned about the safety of a loved one in a California nursing home, contact Silva Injury Law today. At Silva Injury Law, we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. Our knowledgeable elder abuse attorneys have extensive experience investigating, preparing, and litigating all types of abuse and neglect claims. We have also experienced negotiators. Thus, we can often reach a fair settlement without the need for a lengthy and invasive trial.

To learn more, and to schedule, a free consultation, call Silva Injury Law. You can also connect with us through our secure online contact form. We handle all elder abuse cases on a contingency basis, meaning we won’t bill you for our services unless we can secure compensation on your behalf. In most cases, we also advance all litigation costs.

Find Out How We Can Help

At Silva Injury Law we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. With each case tailored to the individual, we look our for your best interests by evaluating your unique circumstances. Contact us today for a FREE in person or remote consultation.

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