NEW YORK LAW ON ELDER ABUSE
New York, much like every other state in the country, has a system in place to deal with elder abuse. It is both preventative and remedial in nature. Many people are more familiar with analogous child abuse protection laws. Unlike child abuse protection laws, New York does not have a mandatory reporting law and does not maintain a central registry on data on elder abuse. In fact, New York is one of only four states that does not mandate reporting of elder abuse. Unique amongst the states, New York has no law at all dealing with reporting. It should be noted, however, that as of writing of the present, Assembly Bill A3743 for the 2015-2016 legislative session is pending which would create a mandatory reporting law and a central registry.
PREVALENCE OF ELDER ABUSE
Nationally, over one in ten elders reported some form of abuse in the last year. Here in New York state, for every one case of elder abuse, 23.5 cases went undocumented. Elder abuse can take the form of physical abuse, including sexual, financial, emotional and neglect. Of those forms, financial is by far the most common, accounting for approximately 60 percent of the abuse (46.2 per thousand out of 76 per thousand). New York City has the highest rate of reported cases, while the Central, Southern Tier has the lowest level of elder abuse. Nationally, the risk of elder abuse increases with a weak social safety support system. Elder abuse also increases the risk of future hospitalization. This in turn spawns even further costs, estimated at 5.3 billion dollars over a three year period. The most likely abusers are adult children and grandchildren. Not surprisingly, alcohol and drug abuse also heighten the risks. Within care facilities, over 50 percent of the staff admitted to some form of abuse to a elder patient; quite a sobering statistic.
MANY SERVICE PROVIDERS
Similar to child abuse protection matters, there are a host of services that assist those who are victims of elder abuse. In the case of elder mistreatment, however, the solution is part of the problem. Since there are so many service providers, there is an impediment to preventing and remedying the root problems creating the risk. Since there is not one agency to coordinate and manage all services or act as a gatekeeper to oversee all issues that touch and concern a particular case, some situations that are at risk to develop into elder abuse or even cases of actual abuse are able to go undocumented. For example, New York City has nine different programs to address elder abuse, while other cases enter official notice via the District Attorney’s Office, police, domestic violence programs miscellaneous social service agencies not associated with or equipped to deal with elder abuse. Each portal has its own internal data collection system that essentially insulates itself from knowing what the next entity has.
If you suspect Elder Abuse in any form, the best remedy and protection is to contact experienced elder law attorney and do not hesitate to Adult Protective Services at (844) 697-3505.