Designed to protect dependent and elderly residents of California, the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA) was created by the state legislature in 1982.
Why? Because this especially vulnerable age group is more prone to neglect, abandonment, and abuse. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports an estimated 1 out of 10 California adults over age 60 have been the victim of elder abuse, including physical, sexual, financial, confinement, or willful deprivation forms of abuse.
If you think your elderly loved one is in danger and could be in a situation where they may be a potential victim of abuse, San Diego elder abuse attorney Joel Bryantis here to help you and your family make sure it does not happen again.
How Does the EADACPA Protect You in California?
The EADACPA was created to protect victims of elder abuse in California, as well as their loved ones. Because, unfortunately, an estimated 1 out of 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.
Under the umbrella of the EADACPA, coverage includes these forms of elder abuse:
- Financial abuse (the most common of elder abuse), such as theft, embezzlement, or mismanagement
- Neglect in personal hygiene, which includes food, shelter, or clothing
- Neglect in medical care, including dehydration or malnutrition
- Neglect in protection from safety hazards
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Maltreatment that leads to pain, or mental or physical harm
What Are the Steps to Report Elder Abuse in California?
The first step, if your loved one is in immediate danger, is to call 911 before proceeding. Following that, notify your area Adult Protective Services (APS) office, which has 10 days to respond to you.
In addition to their own investigation, APS may also send your report to local law enforcement. In the meantime, APS may give you and your loved ones a way to stay safe during this time, depending on the type of case, which could be by way of community resources or caregivers to manage the stress level.
In California, you are allowed to file a lawsuit under the elder abuse act, which could lead to financial compensation. It could also lead to the perpetrator being criminally prosecuted if you can prove the defendant acted with recklessness, malice, fraud, or oppression. This will not only protect you but also potential future victims.
What Else is Covered Under the EADACPA?
There are a few more specifics that are covered under California’s EADACPA that you should be aware of for the security of you and your elderly loved one.
- Mandatory reporting. If someone (caregivers, clergy, doctors, nurses, surgeons, psychotherapists) has full or intermittent responsibility for an elder or dependent adult, they are required to report abuse.
- Timing of reporting. Abuse leading to physical harm must be reported to law enforcement within two hours after witnessing the harm done.
- Prosecution. Because of legislation passed in California in 1991, attorneys and victims are encouraged to prosecute the culprits to the fullest degree if they can prove clear evidence.
Contact a San Diego Elder Abuse Attorney Today
If your loved one has been a victim of elder abuse in San Diego, we are here to help guide you through the steps of prosecution of the perpetrator and the rights you have under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. Contact us today to get started.