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What is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse refers to any knowing, intentional, or neglectful act by a caregiver or any other person causing harm or a serious risk of harm to an elder.

Abuse may be:

  • Physical Abuse – Inflicting or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on an elder, or depriving them of a basic need.
  • Emotional Abuse – Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts.
  • Sexual Abuse – Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elder person.
  • Exploitation – Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of an elder.
  • Neglect – Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care or protection for an elder person.
  • Abandonment – The desertion of an elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.

Who is at Risk?
Every year, an estimated 2.1 million seniors are victims of elder abuse and according to the National Center for Elder Abuse, only one in fourteen cases are reported to authorities. An elder abuse victim may be your neighbor, friend, or family member. In a survey, seniors self-reported financial exploitation at a rate higher than emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect.

While cases of elder abuse can certainly occur in long-term nursing care facilities, it is important to note, 90% of elder abuse is as a result of a family member.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Elder Abuse?
If you suspect someone is the victim of elder abuse or know an offender, you can help by reporting the case to Adult Protective Services Adult Abuse Hotline at 877.SOS.ADULT (877.767.2385).

Voluntary Reporters
Any person can voluntarily report. By law, anyone making an elder abuse report in good faith has civil and criminal immunity from liability.

Mandated Reporters
Certain professionals are required by law to report suspected elder abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable or incapacitated adults. Among those required to report suspected abuse are: doctors, psychologists, dentists, social service workers and law enforcement personnel and persons with responsibility for financial affairs like lawyers, accountants, and trustees.

Consequences of Abusing the Elderly
In addition to being subjected to criminal charges, beginning July 1, 2007, anyone found to have abused, neglected or exploited the elderly at the conclusion of an administrative hearing may have their names forwarded to a public registry, which will remain on record for 10 years.

Where Do I Report?
If there is an immediate threat of injury call 911 for assistance.

Reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation should be made to the Adult Protective Services Hotline at 877.767.2385, local law enforcement agencies or to the Public Fiduciary.

Pinal County Attorney’s Role
Senior citizens represent a large part of Arizona’s population and our Office aims to improve their quality of life and increase their safety and security by fighting elder abuse.

Our efforts focus on the enforcement of financial and physical abuse laws, since senior citizens often fall prey to such crimes. Beyond the enforcement of such laws, however, we work together with others to protect the elderly from all types of abuse, through education, prevention, and prosecution of those neglecting or abusing our seniors.

Links for more information:
 
www.azdes.gov/daas/aps/ 
www.ncea.aoa.gov/faq/index.aspx 
www.azag.gov/sites/default/files/sites/all/docs/seniors/BreakTheSilence-MEAPABrochure.pdf 
www.ncea.aoa.gov/Resources/Publication/index.aspx 

Lando Voyles
Jim Petty Pinal County AZ
County Attorney
 
Victim Services

Physical Address
45 N. Florence St.
Florence, AZ 85132

Contact Information
Phone: 520.866.6813
Phone: 800.208.6897
          (ext. 6813)
Fax: 520.866.6852
Send Email

Mailing Address
Victim Services
P.O. Box 1010
Florence, AZ 85132