Under Florida Law, anyone who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that an elderly person or other vulnerable adult is a victim of exploitation, abuse, or neglect, is required to immediately report the suspicion or knowledge. The Florida Abuse Hotline has a toll free telephone number, 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873) and a TDD number (1-800-955-8770) available 24-hours a day. A Florida Abuse Hotline counselor will let callers know whether the information that has been provided will be entered into a report for investigation.
The elderly are vulnerable to physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as to neglect and exploitation. Neglect can involve an elderly person neglecting to care for themselves or can involve a caregiver neglecting the individual. Exploitation can involve someone trying to gain an elderly person’s funds, assets, or property by abusing a position of trust. In some cases, exploitation can be difficult to pinpoint. A person may be using an elderly person’s funds to care for the individual, but may be not providing adequate care with that money, for example. This can constitute exploitation in some cases.
If you believe that elder abuse is taking place, call the Abuse Hotline to make a report. To make your call more effective, please have this information on hand:
*Information about the victim. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for counselors to help. At minimum, have the victim’s description, age, sex, name, and address on hand.
*A description of the abuse, injury, or harm that makes you suspect abuse.
*Any information you have about the possible perpetrator, including their name, address, and their relationship to the victim.
Once abuse is reported, every attempt will be made to help the victim. However, an adult cannot be forcibly removed from a situation. This means that if an elderly adult does not wish to leave an abusive situation, no one can impede on their personal liberty and constitutional rights. The person can only be removed from a situation forcibly if they are found mentally impaired enough so that judgment and decision making are impaired. If an abuse charge appears to require a criminal investigation, Florida law enforcement will handle the investigations and prosecutions.
If a loved one has suffered abuse, contact qualified Florida attorneys to discuss your legal rights so that you can legally safeguard your loved one from further harm. Call The Law Offices of Flaxman & Lopez. We can help you understand your legal options and can help you protect your family member. Call 1- 800-535-2962 (1 800 5 FLAXMAN) to arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation.