Elder abuse can take many different forms. It can
be physicall, mental, financial or just neglect. At its most extreme if the senior is in eminent physical danger 911
should be called. Most emergency responders have individuals experienced in dealing with a crisis situation including
police officers specially trained in elder care issues.The Executive
Office of Elder Affairs is required by law to administer a statewide system for receiving and investigating reports of elder
abuse, and for providing needed protective services to abused elders when warranted. To fulfill this responsibility, Elder
Affairs has established 22 designated Protective Services (PS) agencies throughout the Commonwealth to respond to reports
of elder abuse. To find the PS agency for your area call 1-800-243-4636. For after hours emergencies call the elder
abuse hotline at 1-800-922-2275. Elder abuse includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse, neglect by a caregiver, self-neglect
and financial exploitation. The goal of protective services is to remedy or alleviate the abusive situation and to prevent
the reoccurrence of abuse.
Reporting Elder AbuseElder abuse reports
may be made to the appropriate designated PS agency or the statewide Elder Abuse Hotline (1-800-922-2275),
which operates on a seven days a week, 24 hours a day basis. Typically, elder abuse reports are made to PS agencies during
normal business hours and to the Hotline during after-hours periods, on weekends and holidays.
Anyone can make an elder abuse report. However, the law requires certain professionals to report
suspected incidents of abuse. Mandated reporters who fail to make elder abuse reports when appropriate are subject to a fine
up to $1,000. In addition, the law provides mandated reporters with immunity from any civil or criminal liability that otherwise
could result from making a report, provided the reporter did not commit the abuse. Persons who are not mandated reporters
have the same immunity, as long as they make a report in good faith.
InterventionOnce an elder abuse report is received, a trained PS caseworker is assigned to investigate the allegations.
If the investigation results in the confirmation of one or more types of abuse, the elder is offered an array of services
to address the situation. In cases of serious abuse, the PS agency must make a report to the District Attorney for possible
An elder who has the capacity to make informed decisions
has the right to refuse services. However, court ordered services must be sought on behalf of abused elders who are unable
to make informed decisions, and are at risk of serious harm. In addition, protective services must be provided in the least
restrictive and appropriate manner possible. This means that in-home and community based services are given preference over
StatisticsIn fiscal year 2005, 11,503
elder abuse reports were received and there were 3,713 newly confirmed cases of elder abuse. These numbers represent increases
of over 16% for both categories when compared to fiscal year 2004 numbers. The average monthly Protective Services caseload,
which includes new cases and previously opened cases, increased by 13.5% in fiscal year 2005, from 2,523 to 2,864 cases per