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Reporting elder abuse in Colorado

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2021 | Elder Law

A new law went into effect in the state in 2014 that makes reporting of suspected elder abuse mandatory. This Colorado elder law states that anyone witnessing elder abuse or who has just cause to believe an elder (70 years of age or older) is being abused must report it to the appropriate police department or to the sheriff by calling 911. The list of mandatory reporters is lengthy, but basically, any can fit into one of the categories. The bottom line is if an elder is being abused, it must be reported to the authorities.

Safeguarding the reporter

Some people may be hesitant in reporting actual or suspected abuse for a few reasons. The person may be concerned about the possible backlash he or she might receive from other people. The person who reports the abuse should know that those reporting elder abuse incidents are immune from any civil action or criminal prosecution if the report was made in good faith. On the other hand, anyone who falsely reports elder abuse could be charged with the class 3 misdemeanor.

Different types of abuse

There are three main types of elder abuse: physical, financial and emotional. All those have sub categories such as sexual abuse, neglect, over sedation and so on. Physical abuse is typically the easiest to spot, while a senior who is being emotionally abused may appear depressed, withdrawn or anxious. Financial abuse can be harder to pinpoint.

Elder law exists to protect one of the most vulnerable segments of society. If all Colorado residents who witness the abuse of seniors and those who believe a senior is being physically, emotionally or financially abused reported these incidents and inklings to the authorities, the benefit to the quality of life of many elders would be substantial. There is also help and support immediately available to those who wish to seek justiceby legal action in any of these type of instances.