Elder Abuse

What is elder abuse and what to do if you suspect abuse?

Unfortunately, elder abuse occurs and often goes unreported. There are things that a person or loved one of a victim can do if they know about or suspect abuse.

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is when someone causes harm or serious risk to a vulnerable adult. This could be done by a caregiver, family member, or other person. A.R.S. §13-3623 and A.R.S. § 46-451

Examples of Elder Abuse

  • Physical Violence
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Embezzlement
  • Neglect
  • Isolation
  • Sexual Assault
  • Financial Exploitation
  • Identify Theft
  • Abandonment
  • Depriving a Person of Essentials

Who is a vulnerable adult?

A vulnerable adult is a person over the age of 18 that cannot protect themselves from harm because of a mental or physical impairment. Impairments could be things such as memory problems or unable to stand without assistance.
person in wheelchair

What are possible signs of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult?

Signs that a person may be in an abusive or neglectful situation are:
Weight loss
Bedsores
Unclean bedding or clothing
Bruises
Sleep problems
Foul odors on person or in living area
Cringe when being touched
Welts
money going into a computer

What are possible signs of exploitation?

When a person takes advantage of a vulnerable adult by using their money/credit/property/etc. for their own benefit, without permission, it is called exploitation. Strangers, loved ones, and caregivers have been known to exploit vulnerable adults.

A person may be exploited if one or more of the following take place:

  • Checks are missing from a checkbook
  • Mentions of sending money to someone
  • Transferring property suddenly
  • Applications for new credit cards
  • Concerns or confusion about missing money
  • Switching bank accounts often
  • Switching a power of attorney or beneficiary without notice
  • Unknown withdrawals or credit card charges

What can I do to if I am a victim of abuse or know the person being abused?

If you/they are in immediate danger call 911.
If you/they are not in immediate danger, there is help.

Adult Protective Services

File a report online
or
Call (877) 767-2385

Find Your Area Agency on Aging

If you do not have a phone, tell a neighbor, your doctor, or someone you can trust to get you the help you need. Tell someone.

What should I do if I suspect someone at a care facility is abusing or exploiting someone?

If you suspect that the abuse is occurring in a licensed care facility, such as a nursing home, contact Arizona Ombudsman Citizens’ Aide office at (800) 872-2879 or file a complaint online. Your report will be confidential and you can remain anonymous. A.R.S. §§ 46-452.01, 452.02

Am I required to report suspected elder abuse?

You must immediately report concerns if you:
  • Are responsible for the care of an incapacitated or vulnerable adult, or
  • Are responsible for the medical, financial, legal, etc. concerns of an incapacitated or vulnerable adult.
ringing phone
Reports should be made when there is a reasonable basis to believe that abuse, neglect, or exploitation has taken place.
A.R.S. § 46-454

Is domestic violence the same as elder abuse?

There are over 30 crimes that are included in Arizona domestic violence law. A.R.S. § 13-3601 Vulnerable adult abuse or elder abuse is listed as a crime under the statute. Under the statute there must be a relationship between the victim and abuser to qualify as domestic violence.
This is called the “Relationship Test”. If the victim (plaintiff) and abuser (defendant) have one or more of the following relationships, the victim may apply for an order of protection:

They are married now or had been married
They live in the same home or used to live together,
They have a child or children together,
One person is pregnant by the other,
They are related by blood or marriage (example: parent, parents of a spouse, brother, sister, grandparent, non-biological sibling), and/or
They had a previous romantic or sexual relationship.

What do I do if I am in a domestic violence situation?

If you are in immediate danger or have been harmed, call 9-1-1.
If you choose to not call 9-1-1, you may call a crisis hotline for assistance in finding shelter, applying for an order of protection, filing charges, or safety planning. Visit AZCrimeVictimHelp for more guidance.
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How can I apply for an Order of Protection?

Arizona residents apply for an order of protection online at AZPoint. Once the application process is completed, you will have to go to a nearby courthouse to have the order filed and served. Visit AZCourtHelp.org for more information: https://azcourthelp.org/browse-by-topic/protective-orders

Elder Abuse Legal Information

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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