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Social Rights Law

California Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 15600-15610.65, 15630-15632 and 15657-15657.5 require caregivers to report instances of Elder Abuse.

Question:      Why were Elder Abuse Mandated Reporter laws enacted?
Answer:        To protect our elders, any person 65 years or older, and developmentally disabled populations.

Question:   What constitutes abuse?
Answer:     Physical abuse, financial abuse, neglect, abandonment, and abduction that cause the elder physical harm or mental suffering. (WIC 15610.07)

Question:   What are some signs of physical abuse?
Answer:    Signs that someone is being physically abused may include: Unusual or recurring scratches, bruises, skin tears, welts.  Injuries caused by biting, cutting,    

                  pinching or twisting of limbs.  Burns, fractures or sprains.  Torn, stained or bloody underclothings.  Untreated medical conditions, or signs of excessive

                 drugging.  Injuries that are incompatible with explanations.  And intense fear reactions to specific people

Question:     What are some signs of financial abuse?
Answer:      Signs that someone is being financially abused may include:  Disappearance of papers, checkbooks, legal documents.  Staff assisting residents with

                   credit care purchases, ATM Withdrawals.  Lack of amenities, toiletries, and clothing.  Unpaid Bills.  Receipt of unnecessary services.  Denial of  

                   necessary services.

Question:   What are some signs of neglect?
Answer:     Signs that someone is being neglected may include:  Skin disorders or untreated rashes.  Unkempt hair and appearance.  Neglected bedsores.

                  Dehydration, malnutrition, sudden weight loss.  Inadequate clothing.  Failure to take medication.  Lack of necessities: dentures, hearing aides,

                  eyeglasses, medication.

Question:  Am I a Mandated Reporter?
Answer:    You are a mandated reporter if you take care of an elder, even if you are not paid.  Mandated Reporter positions include: Health practitioners,clergymen,

                 care custodians, administrators, supervisors, support staff, maintenance staff and licensed staff of private facilities that provide care or services for     

                 elders. (WIC 15601, 15630(a))

                 Officers and employees of financial institutions (FDIC Insured     Institutions) are Mandated Reporters regarding financial abuse.

Question:  What exactly is a care custodian?
Answer:    Care custodian is a broad term that includes those employed with: Twenty four hour health facilities (Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Intermediate Care

                 Facilities, Hospice Facilities, and the like).  Clinics.  Home Health Agencies.  Agencies providing publicly funded in-home support and nutrition                          

                 services.  Adult Day Care Facilities.  Independent living centers.  Therapeutic Day Services.  Residential Care Facilities (WIC 15610.17)

Question:  Should I file an Elder Abuse Report?
Answer:    If you form a reasonable suspicion, or hear a credible report of: physical abuse, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect regarding

                 someone in your care, then you should file an Elder Abuse Report.  (WIC 15630(b))

Question:  What is a reasonable suspicion?
Answer:    To judge whether or not a suspicion is reasonable, the law creates a fictitious Mandated Reporter with your specific experience and training, and then

                 asks whether this fictitious reasonable Mandated Reporter with your experience and training would have reported.  

Question:   What do I do if I encounter an abused adult?
Answer:     Mandated Reporters shall report reasonable suspicions of elder abuse and dependent adults. (WIC 15601)

                   Not reporting an instance of Elder Abuse is a misdemeanor.  (WIC 15630(f)

Question:   Should I investigate the abuse myself?
Answer:     No, let the authorities do the investigating.  (WIC 15630)

Question:   My boss wants to report the abuse on my behalf, is that ok?
Answer:     No, the duty to report is specific to the individual who suspects the abuse.  (WIC 15630)

Question:    If I make a report of elder abuse can I be liable?
Answer:      A primary purpose of the act is to protect mandated reporters, as long as the report is not made with malicious intent you will be protected.(WIC 


Question:  When do I report?
Answer:    Within two hours of forming a reasonable suspicion you should report by phone.  

                  Within two (2) days you shall file a written report. (WIC 15630)

Question:  How do I make a report?
Answer:     Phone Law Enforcement and Adult Protective Services at (805) 781-1790, after business hours (844) 729-8011.  If it is an emergency call 9-1-1.

                   If the matter concerns a long term care facility, you must also phone the SLO Long Term Care Ombudsman at (805) 785-0132, immediately.