People who come into contact with aging adults may at times suspect that some form of abuse is occurring. This abuse might be financial, physical, sexual, or simple neglect. More than just being good citizens, certain professionals and caregivers are required by law to report the suspected abuse. These individuals are known as Mandated Reporters.
Who are Mandated Reporters?
A variety of professionals can fall under the “mandated reporter” label. However, anyone who has regular contact with a vulnerable person should file a report if they suspect that any abuse is occurring.
These mandated reporters can be both paid and unpaid people. If the individual has taken on intermittent or full responsibility for the care of a dependent adult, then he has the responsibility of filing a report. Here are some of the common professions of mandated reporters:
- School teachers and personnel
- State employees
- Mental health professionals
- Social workers
- Law enforcement officers
- Guidance counselors
- Foster parents
Keep in mind that everyone should report suspected abuse, even if he or she is not serving in a professional capacity.
When Should You File a Report?
How do you know if a situation merits filing a report? If you have “reasonable cause to believe” that there is abuse or neglect, then you should share the information even though the law does not require it. On the other hand, mandated reporters are legally required to file a report.
Anyone with a special working relationship with an aging adult needs to report suspected abuse as soon as practically possible. A written report should be submitted within 36 hours.
Mandated Reporters receive immunity for making the report. However, failure to report the situation could result in a misdemeanor charge filed against the person responsible for reporting.
Are you a mandated reporter? Do you suspect abuse or neglect? If the situation is serious, threatening, or dangerous, call 911 or the local police for immediate help. If not, call your local county office of Adult Protective Services (APS). Another resource is the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA): https://ncea.acl.gov/
For more information email info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or phone 858-480-7551. Senior Safe and Sound.