Why Elder Abuse Goes Unreported

It is impossible to know exactly how much elder abuse goes unreported in the U.S., for the basic reason that it is unreported. But researchers have been able to put together estimates based on voluminous data which suggests that, while as many as 1 in 10 elderly persons experiences elder abuse in a given year, probably only about 1 in 14 of those persons ever report those instances to authorities. Why is there such a gap between the actual instances of elder abuse occurring and those that are reported? Here are several potential reasons. 

Some Victims Lack the Ability to Communicate the Abuse That is Occurring

Much like those who abuse children, abusers of the elderly will often select their victims based on factors which they believe will lead to their abuse not being reported. Older victims and those with decreased physical and mental faculties may not be able to fully appreciate or perceive the abuse or have the communicative skills to tell others about the abuse. Those who do not speak the same language as authorities or other caregivers may also be at higher risk of abuse. 

Victims May Fear Further Abuse or Reprisal

Elder abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities often comes at the hands of the very caretakers who have the responsibility of providing the victims with food, medication, medical care, toiletries, and other basic life needs. Thus, victims may worry that reporting the abuse they receive will mean that their basic needs will not be met or that it may lead to only further abuse in retribution. 

Victims May Feel That No One Cares to Help

Sadly, victims of elder abuse often feel a hopelessness or depression relating to their situation ever getting better, no matter what they do. This could be an irrational feeling on their part, but there are certainly many cases in which internal reports of elder abuse to nursing home staff and administrators have not led to the situation being addressed when those employees and managers put their financial concerns and reputations over the wellbeing and safety of residents. 

Furthermore, state authorities are often underfunded and understaffed in addressing reports of elder abuse. 

Why Family Members Are Often the First Line of Defense Against Abuse

For all of the above reasons, it is often the family members of nursing home and assisted living facility residents who need to step up to notice the signs of elder abuse and then take appropriate action to address it. Fortunately, help is available in this process. 

An experienced private elder abuse attorney can work with family members to assess whether elder abuse is indeed occurring and take appropriate actions through the court system to hold abusers and their employers financially accountable for their misdeeds and prevent further abuse from occurring. 

Contact the Southern California Elder Abuse Attorneys at Johnson Moore Today 

At Johnson Moore, we know full well that elder abuse victims and their families often face stonewalling, denial, and even intimidation when they try to take action against elder abuse. Our attorneys are compassionate and determined defenders of the elderly, and we will take the time to fully understand your concerns and assess what steps we can take on your behalf. Even if you are unsure of whether you have a valid claim, we look forward to hearing from you to help you explore your options for obtaining the justice you deserve. Contact Johnson Mooretoday to schedule a free consultation.



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