Caregivers have a legal obligation to report abuse

Law gavel on white.

Allways Home Care employees are mandated reporters and must report any known or suspected cases of abuse to an Elder or Dependent Adult to the proper authorities. California law mandates that certain individuals report known or suspected instances of elder or dependent adult abuse.  Failure to do so is a crime.

Mandated reporters must follow specific requirements for reporting known or suspected cases of abuse.

California’s mandated reporting law states:  “Any mandated reporter who, in his or her professional capacity, or within the scope of his or her employment, has observed or has knowledge of an incident that reasonably appears to be physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or is told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced behavior constituting physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or reasonably suspects abuse shall report…”

In summary, the reporting requirements are as follows:

A mandated reporter SHALL report a known or a suspected instance of abuse if he or she:

  • Has observed or has knowledge of an incident that reasonably appears to be…
  • Has been told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced behavior constituting abuse…
  • Reasonably suspects that abuse has occurred.

In other words, caregivers are mandated reporters and are required to make a report if they:

  • Witness an abusive incident
  • Receive information or evidence, whether visual or audible
  • Receive a report from an elder or dependent adult describing an incident that reasonably appears to constitute abuse

Remember:  Every individual that has knowledge of an incident that appears to be abuse, must file a report. There is no penalty for filing a report; there is a significant penalty for failing to file.

Nothing in California law requires or implies that mandated reporters have a duty to investigate any known or suspected case of abuse. Mandated reporters are only legally responsible for one thing: the reporting of suspected or known abuse. Reporting is an INDIVIDUAL DUTY.  By law, a supervisor or administrator CANNOT prevent a staff member from reporting elder or dependent adult abuse.  Neither can mandated reporters hand this responsibility over to another staff member or administrator. Mandated reporters must report the incident themselves, they must follow through and no one can alter this legal responsibility. When you report an instance of suspected abuse, you are acting according to the law and behaving in an ethical manner. Even if you have reasonable doubts or concerns, it is best to err on the side of caution and the law and file the report.

 Making a Report

Mandated reporters are required to report incidents of known or suspected abuse in two ways:

  1. By telephone immediately, or as soon as practically possible, to the local area office on aging authorities or local law enforcement agency.   AND
  2. By written report to the CA Department of Social Services using Form (SOC Form 341), “Report of Suspected Dependent Adult/Elder Abuse.” Form must be sent within two (2) working days of the incident.*

*The identity of any person who reports an instance of elder abuse is kept confidential by the investigating agencies.

The telephone numbers for the local area offices on aging:

Orange County Adult Protective Services 800-451-5155
Orange County Sheriff 949-770-6011

The SOC 341 form can also be obtained directly from the CA DSS:

http://www.dss.cahwnet.gov/cdssweb/entres/forms/English/SOC341.pdf

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Caregivers have a legal obligation to report abuse Allways Home Care employees are mandated reporters and must report any known or suspected cases of abuse to an Elder or Dependent Adult to the proper authorities. California law mandates that certain individuals report known or suspected instances of elder or dependent...