Elder Abuse Is a Crime Against Some
of Our Most Vulnerable Citizens
Our office is devoted to prosecuting the offenders and helping the victims.
The Elder Abuse Protection Unit is dedicated to assisting victims of crime who are 60 years of age or older. Many crimes against the elderly involve financial fraud, theft by deception, identity theft, abuse of a power of attorney, neglect or physical abuse. Financial abuse often involves a family member. Here at the District Attorney’s Office, we are sensitive to the difficulties associated with reporting this kind of abuse. Please understand that you are not alone, either as a victim or as a family member of an elderly victim. Call us with questions, even if you are wondering where to call for assistance.
In addition to prosecuting crimes against seniors, the District Attorney’s Elder Abuse Protection Unit also considers education part of our mission. We often partner with the appropriate organizations to help teach seniors how to protect themselves and to train police, public safety, and fire personnel how to spot elder abuse and handle such cases.
For more information about one such partnership, the Elder Justice Initiative (EJI), click here: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice
All persons in Louisiana are “mandatory reporters” of elder abuse. The mandatory reporting statute, La. R.S. 14:403.2, has provisions for immunity from civil and criminal liability if the report is made in accord with the statute and in good faith. To report abuse, call 1-800-898-4910 (if you are calling from within Louisiana). If you are calling from outside the state of Louisiana, call 225-342-9722.
For any type of elder abuse or neglect, Adult Protective Services will investigate eligible cases. Each case is evaluated individually, and based on those facts, the agency can act to prevent, remedy, halt, or hinder acts of abuse and neglect against an elder adult. As necessary, the agency also will work with work with other agencies to assist an elderly victim. Only when other efforts fail will Adult Protective Services recommend referral or admission to an appropriate care facility for the elder adult, or seek judicial remedy to the situation. For a full description of what Adult Protective Services can do to help, please visit the agency’s website at http://goea.louisiana.gov and select Protective Advocacy Services and then Elderly Protective Services. If there is an emergency or you suspect a crime, call 9-1-1 immediately.
What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse is the abuse or exploitation of a person age 60 or older by a family member or caregiver. The abuse may be physical, emotional, or sexual; it also may include financial exploitation by those seeking to scam or commit fraud against an elderly victim. The abuse also could include violence.
What are some signs of elder abuse?
Some examples are:
- Physical actions, such as pushing, hitting, restraining an elder.
- Emotional and verbal intimidation, such as screaming, threatening, insulting an elder.
- Withdrawal or isolation of an elder.
- Sexual exploitation, particularly threats or actions, which are sexual in nature, against an elder without their consent.
- Neglect, such as withholding of medicine, medical care, food, personal care, utilities, or daily necessities, or over-medication, or self-neglect to the point of danger.
- Financial extortion or exploitation, such as theft or misuse of money, property or the possessions of the elder.
What do I do if I think I am a victim of elder abuse or if I’m concerned that a relative may be a victim?
If you believe a crime has been committed against you or a family member, please call 9-1-1. The local law enforcement agency will investigate, prepare a repot, and where appropriate, arrest the perpetrator. If the perpetrator is charged with a crime, the case will be sent to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. For a non-emergency situation, call Adult Protective Services at 1-800-898-4910 from inside Louisiana or 225-342-9722 from outside the state.
Why is there a Victim Assistance Coordinator just in Washington Parish to provide special help for elder abuse victims?
The program in Washington Parish is financed by a special grant. While we are always seeking opportunities to expand our services, this particular grant covers just Washington Parish at the time.
If I am aware of a situation that involves elder abuse, can I get in trouble if I don’t report it?
Yes, failure to report elder abuse is a crime that is punishable by up to six months imprisonment and/or a $500 fine in Louisiana, where every person is considered a “mandatory reporter.” The mandatory reporting statute, La. R.S. 14:403.2, also has provisions for immunity from civil and criminal liability if the report is made in accord with the statute and in good faith. To report abuse, call 1-800-898-4910 (if you are calling from within Louisiana). If you are calling from outside the state of Louisiana, call 225-342-9722.
Why is elder abuse getting more attention these days?
People ages 65 and older are in the fastest-growing age group in the United States. According to the U.S. Census, the number of people ages 65 and older are estimated to increase from 12.4 percent of the population in 2000 to 20.6 percent of the population in 2050.
Through a unique grant, a Victim Assistance Coordinator is available to provide special help to elderly victims of crimes being prosecuted by our office in Washington Parish. The coordinator, Anna Moses, can be contacted by phone at (985) 839-6711. She is based at our Franklinton office, 905 Pearl Street, Franklinton, LA 70438.
If you would like to arrange for a speaker from the Elder Abuse Protection Unit to address your group, please call our Franklinton or Covington office. If possible, we will be happy to send a representative.