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Riverside County raises awareness of elder & dependent-adult abuse

Effort encourages increased reporting of abuse

June 8, 2017

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif – In California, as many as 50,000 cases of elder and dependent-adult abuse go unreported every month. To help increase awareness and reporting, the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) Adult Services Division is teaming up with older adult advocates throughout the state to educate our communities during the month-long “Know Abuse, Report Abuse” campaign in June.

Elder and dependent-adult abuse takes many forms, some more obvious than others. Physical, mental, sexual, and financial abuse, as well as neglect and self-neglect, are recognized in state law as forms of elder and dependent-adult abuse. Reports for all types of elder and dependent-adult abuse are on the rise. Here in Riverside County, reports of abuse have increased by 16 percent since 2015.

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“We know that for every reported case of elder or dependent-adult abuse, as many as four cases go unreported. That’s hundreds of thousands of people across the state who are not getting the help they need,” noted Lisa Shiner, DPSS Assistant Director of Adult Services.

“It really takes a community to “Know Abuse, Report Abuse” – to recognize when our older adults and those over 18 who are vulnerable and are victims of abuse; and then take that crucial next step to report it to the local Adult Protective Services agency. Or, for those in long-term care facilities, the report should be made to either the Long Term Care Ombudsman’s office or local law enforcement agency,” said Shiner.

There are a number of indicators that may point to abuse, including:

  • Lack of adequate food, water and other amenities

  • Dirty clothing and changes in personal hygiene

  • Bruises, black eyes, broken bones

  • Bloody, ripped or stained clothing or sheets

  • Harassment, coercion, intimidation, humiliation

  • Unexplained purchases by the primary caregiver

Riverside County has a 24-hour hotline for reporting abuse of older adults and disabled adults who may be physically or financially abused, neglected, or exploited.

  • The local APS number is 800-491-7123.

  • To report suspected abuse of an elder in a nursing home, residential care facility for the elderly, or assisted living facility, contact the State CRISIS line number:
    800-231-4024 or your local Long Term Care Ombudsman Program: 877-430-4433.

“Recognize It! Report It! Prevent It!” is part of the statewide campaign to create awareness of elder abuse. Riverside County DPSS Adult Services Division regularly provides prevention education to seniors, and training to those interested on how to recognize and report elder abuse.

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