What Are Some Elder Abuse Laws in California?


Quick Answer

Under California law, people are defined as elderly if they are age 65 or older, and it is a criminal offense if someone willfully causes or allows the physical or mental suffering or unjustifiable physical pain of an elderly person, reports California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. Civil law in California protects the elderly from physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment or other actions that bring about physical or mental pain.

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Full Answer

California law provides criminal penalties for people who willfully cause or allow an elderly person to be put in a situation that may be dangerous to his health, according to California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. Nursing home staff, employees of county adult protective service agencies, local law enforcement officers, people who have assumed responsibility for an elderly person, and employees of financial institutions are some of the people who are mandated to report elderly abuse under California law. Failure to report abuse is a criminal offense, with additional penalties if the abused person dies.

Abandonment of an elderly person by a caregiver is considered a civil offense under California law, notes California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. Illegal or unethical financial exploitation of an elderly person is also a civil offense, as is intentionally preventing an elderly person from receiving outside contact. Physical abuse of an elderly person under California civil law includes the use of physical or chemical restraints beyond those ordered by a doctor.

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