Elder Abuse Restraining Order – Can it help you?
June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder Abuse is reported by about 1 in 10 older adults but thought to be vastly underreported.
Elder abuse is the physical abuse, mental suffering, sexual abuse, financial abuse, or neglect of someone 65 years old or over. Although it can be inflicted by a stranger, a neighbor or an acquaintance, it is too often inflicted by a caregiver, child, or spouse. The stress of caregiving and financial strain create circumstances that are especially susceptible to abuse. Elders are often stuck in these situations without the physical capability to leave or financial means to seek help.
If someone finds themselves in this situation and are in danger, they should call the police. In addition, there are resources in San Diego County that can help to construct a comprehensive protection plan.
A Civil Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Restraining Order is one of these tools. In so many instances, stopping an abuser’s physical access to the elder or to the elder’s assets would stop the abuse. The judge can order the restrained person to stop the abuse (e.g. yelling, threatening), stay away from the elder’s home or place or work (e.g. the judge may order the respondent to stay 100 yards away), stop contact with the elder or other family members (e.g. stop calling them), and in some circumstances move out of a shared home. Unless the abuse was solely financial, it also requires the restrained person to give up all firearms. Violation of any of these orders can result in jail time.
Restraining Orders are not unique for elders. However, the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Restraining Order does differ in its accessibility. The California State legislature has recognized that seniors need more protection and lowered the standard of proof required for success. The process can, hopefully, be a bit less daunting. Such a powerful tool that can make such a difference in the protection of these victims.
For these restraining orders, the court system is set up for people to come in and ask for the protection they need. Even so, it can be frightening for an elder to do this on their own.
If you would like more information on Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Restraining Orders please feel free to call Elder Law & Advocacy at (858) 565-1392. Since this is a limited program, all clients will be screened before representation is offered.