Where are elder abuse definitions and mandatory reporting?

Or contact the Adult Protective Service office of your local county department of social services. Mandatory reporting of elder abuse has a history of provoking heated debate. However, over time, all states except New York and Pennsylvania have passed laws requiring professionals to report abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older persons in New York State requires Adult Protective Services (APS) workers to report suspected abuse to the forces of order, but there are no laws requiring other professionals or lay people to be reported, and the APS mandate only dictates that they must file a complaint. There is no obligation on the part of law enforcement to investigate APS reports.

In the context of the national conversation about mandatory reporting, this requirement for APS does not confer “mandatory reporting status” status on New York State. In addition, certain residential health care facilities are required to report. The extent of the problem isn't even fully understood because many cases of abuse go unreported, despite the laws we'll discuss below. Your loved one who lives in a nursing home receives protection from elder abuse under federal and state laws.

Although each case involving elder abuse or neglect is unique, the following fictitious scenarios demonstrate common themes that occur. The New York Social Services Act §473-b grants immunity from civil liability to anyone who reports suspected elder abuse in good faith, and extends to doctors, social workers, and other industry professionals. Skeptics of traditional mandatory reporting laws want the state to move toward a person-centered response to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Laws requiring mandatory reporting vary from state to state, but have garnered wide support because these measures are believed to improve the way states respond to elder abuse.

While the ultimate intention of mandatory reporting laws (improving each state's response to elder abuse) is in line with the values of all those working for senior justice, some professionals argue that the above legislation and arguments have serious limitations. Unfortunately, New York State is one of the few in the country that does not have mandatory reporting laws on elder abuse and neglect. Every day, elders are subjected to various forms of abuse and neglect that go unaddressed and often end up in hospitals or nursing homes (or worse) because of that abuse.

Erika Shipley
Erika Shipley

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