Elder abuse in California is a reprehensible crime, and it is unfortunately common throughout the state. While catching signs and preventing abuse is ideal, it is sometimes impossible to get ahead of this kind of abuse. If you have reported elder abuse to adult protective services in California and are wondering about the next steps, here is our guide to who investigates these transgressions and what that entails:
Who Investigates Elder Abuse in California?
When one reports elder abuse in California, a few different entities investigate these reports. Elder abuse is a severe issue, and going through the proper channels is imperative to protect your loved one.
Still, navigating this complex process and ensuring your loved one receives justice requires the expertise of a premier elder abuse lawyer.
Adult Protective Services
The primary investigating entity for elder abuse is California Adult Protective Services (APS). Every California county has an APS agency.
The APS assists adults 65 or older and disabled dependent adults aged 16 through 64. The APS protects elderly individuals when they can no longer meet their needs or fall victim to abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
County APS agencies investigate reports of elder abuse in California for seniors living in private homes, apartments, hotels, or hospitals. Types of abuse they investigate include:
- And more
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Furthermore, when you report a long-term care facility, you also must contact the ombudsman. An ombudsman is a public official who helps resolve resident issues in nursing facilities, investigates claims against facilities, and works to devise solutions.
Department of Social Services
The California Department of Social Services monitors senior facilities, like RCFEs, and assisted living.
If you have reported elder abuse in these types of facilities and they have not adequately addressed your concerns, file a complaint with the Department of Social Services, and they will investigate the situation.
Local Law Enforcement
If the situation is critical, it is important to call 911 and immediately involve law enforcement officials. Elder abuse in California is a crime, and reporting suspected abuse to local law enforcement is an integral part of this process.
Department of Public Health
Another investigating group in elder abuse situations in healthcare facilities is the Department of Public Health. Their involvement is largely due to their licensing and certification program, and elder abuse allegations can jeopardize these credentials.
The Investigation Process
After reporting abuse to adult protective services in California, officials conduct an investigation, which can be extensive.
APS investigates victims in the environment where the reported elder abuse in California is occurring. Essentially, California adult protective services examine:
- The mental capacity of an elderly individual.
- The extent of an elderly individual’s dependence.
- Whether or not elderly abuse took place
During this process, an APS official will contact the necessary parties for additional information regarding the reported abuse. This phase often entails interviewing the person allegedly being abused and anyone in that person’s surroundings.
However, depending on the circumstances and results, several more agencies can get involved and take action, such as licensing agencies, the long-term ombudsman, local enforcement, and social services. Different kinds of intervention can occur.
An ombudsman may work with a facility and staff to better accommodate the resident’s needs or use community resources to relocate them. Law enforcement may also arrest perpetrating caregivers, and facilities can also receive a fine or face a broader investigation.
If it is determined an elderly individual lacks capacity, the case may go to court to get guardianship. Understanding the investigation process and how to protect your loved one and ensure they receive justice requires the counsel of an expert elder abuse attorney.
Contact a Premier Lawyer for Elder Abuse in California Today
Elder abuse is a severe offense. If you suspect a loved one has endured such exploitation, contacting adult protective services in California and other agencies is essential to ensure they receive justice and protection. However, this process is complicated, and navigating the different legal channels to provide your loved one with the best quality of life requires the acumen of an expert elder abuse lawyer. Fortunately, at Gokal Law Group, we boast unparalleled expertise and an unending commitment to clients and their well-being.
Our passion is protecting victims of senior abuse like their guardian angels. We go above and beyond to preserve each client’s well-being and health and empower them to emerge with their dignity intact. Contact us now to receive justice.