Our San Diego nursing home abuse attorney understands that knowing the signs and symptoms of abuse is essential to ensuring that your loved ones are adequately cared for and safe. Elder abuse can consist of neglect—such as lack of supervision or violations of health and safety standards—or physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse. According to a recent press release issued by the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine), nearly 2 million older Americans are abused each year. For each incident of reported elder abuse at least five more go unreported.
Reports of elder abuse have been on the rise around the country. In our area alone, several negligent California nursing homes have been fined or closed due to their inadequate, or in some cases illegal, practices.
There is good news, however. UC Irvine recently announced that California residents now have another important resource that will provide information on how to prevent mistreatment of elders. The U.S. Administration on Aging has designated UC Irvine as the site for the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) based on the university’s award-winning program in Geriatrics. The university will receive a $1.7 million federal grant.
The NCEA, which changes location every few years, will serve as a resource for law enforcement, health workers, and adult protective services. The center is expected to provide practical information for all levels of government—federal, state, and local—about the effective identification, prevention, and response to California elder abuse.
As the new national clearinghouse, UC Irvine will collect and distribute information on elder abuse. UC Irvine is already an international and national leader in the research and prevention of elder abuse, so the university was a natural choice in many ways. For example, UC Irvine’s Elder Abuse Forensic Center brings together legal, medical, social services, and law enforcement experts to improve the investigation and prosecution of elder abuse cases. Such cases can be very difficult to prosecute because elders often do not want to speak out against their abusers. They may fear retaliatory abuse or have a close relationship with the abuser.
Unfortunately, those who abuse or neglect our elder population are often the people we trust the most—doctors, nurses, group home staff, and other caretakers. “None of us ever forgets that this work is about real people who are living in fear, who have had their rights taken from them, and who deserve dignity and respect,” said Mary Twomey, who—along with Dr. Laura Mosqueda, will lead the NCEA at UC Irvine. “We will work to make their lives better.”
In addition to criminal elder abuse cases, civil remedies are available. Our California elder abuse lawyers know that abusers must be held accountable for their actions. If you believe a relative or friend has been abused, please consult a legal professional. Sometimes filing a lawsuit can be an important step in the healing process. However, even if a lawsuit is not necessary, there are many other remedies available to hold abusers accountable and ensure that further abuse is stopped in its tracks.
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