Mandatory reporting of elder abuse

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Child abuse is mandatory reporting and so is elder abuse when it occurs in residential care. What about when the individual doesn't live in residual care?
I am currently in my last year of social work degree and I'm researching why elder abuse is not covered for all elders in our community.
As you are probably aware elder abuse is on the increase as our aged population lives longer and they remain in their own homes or cared for my family members.
Do you feel as a neighbour if you witness a son abusing their elderly parent would you report it? If as a bank worker you noticed an elder's bank account diminishing rapidly since their family member became power attorney would you report it? But would they know who to report it too?
Elder abuse comes under domestic violence and research shows people do not like becoming involve when they witness or become aware of domestic violence occurring.
We also know for a lot of our aged population they cannot for themselves report being abused for various reasons, health reasons, fear of getting family into trouble, losing contact of family just to mention a few examples.
What are your opinions on making mandatory reporting for elder abuse in our community, would you support it? Would you support a helpline to be set up similar to that for child abuse to report elder abuse?
I realise there pros and cons for this subject and would like to hear those opinions please.
Thank you

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Physical abuse can occur after a person is driven to the point of frustration and anger, no one is going to stop and think about a law then, if they did there wouldn't be any murders, manslaughters, etal.
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If this law was there definitely it will make people think twice before they abuse a senior. For every law there are people who will try to misuse it. So it doesn't mean we should not have that law. I support mandatory reporting.
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JessieBelle I totally agree, carers are undervalued and recieve little if any support. Here in Australia and I am sure its a worldwide problem the shortage of residual care places. As our Elder population grows along with medical advances we are all living longer which has an impact on the services for the aged.
Like you said there is no easy solution for both the individual and for the carer. I guess all we really want is too grow old happily and with dignity. Dementia is a cruel and unforgiving disease the sooner they find a cure or a decent treatment the better. But that can be said for a long of diseases that plague our civilisation.
As a student its by reading your feedback and others I can gain insight into both sides of the story and hopefully take that insight with me into practice. Should I be lucky enough to gain employment into the aged care field I will be revisiting this website to further expand that insight.
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SW I am glad you brought this problem into the light-it needs to be addressed and I feel it is these days just as abuse to women is being talked about finally- a little late for me but God did protect me and I came out of the dark finally and stood my ground before he died. You are very insightfull and will make a good social worker-I hope you will continue to talk about this subject-an aide in a NH near hear was caught hitting a pt.-with a camera the daughter had put up in her mothers 's room -she hit the resident so hard she fell out of the w/c and this nursing home was believed to be one of the best.
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Mandatory report? No leave it where it is. Teachers and healthcare workers, who are currently licensed in their profession are mandatory child abuse reportersand are required to show they are current in their training whenever they renew a license. I would only support making it mandatory for elders if the reporters were healthcare workers not just the man or woman in the street.
Inflicting physical injury on another is a crime so of course that needs to be reported to the police.
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@ social work,
looks like you came to a good place to get input on this subject. most of the replies are from a carer perspective and influenced by personal experiences.
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Sure we don't want elder abuse, I don't want anyone to be abused. But, it is very important to "get out" the fact that those who give their all to care for their parents end up as Jesse Belle said at their whim. If they are delusional and one day take offense for being told not to reuse their toilet paper, they just might "get even" by telling a story. It is way for them to keep some sort of control. Truly not every elder is a sweet little person, sometimes they are quite passive agressive and totally annoyed by losing control and independence. Social Work should look into solving this problem.
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SocialWorker, each of us probably carried our own baggage into answering the question. Many of us know the flipside of elder abuse, and we can see how it could play out to harm family members who had done nothing wrong. If you read through many of the messages on this board, you'll find instances where caregivers are vulnerable to the whims of the people they care for and other family members. Care would have to be taken to not falsely accuse a caregiver or to make their already-heavy life any heavier. A good example is the one I gave about my mother being a confabulator. Since canfabulation is often present in older people, how would it be filtered out? The only way I can see is if the person reported saw the abuse themselves and didn't get the information secondhand. But then there is the problem of seeing abuse firsthand, because it is probably hidden in most instances. Many older people rarely leave their houses.

This is a daunting problem that has no easy solution. We want to stop elder abuse, but don't want to make the life of good caregivers more difficult.
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Not in a million years did I expect the responses I would get when I first posted this topic. I am a 4th year social work student in Australia. As part of my final course we hold a conference and give a 20 min speech on a topic of our choosing.
I have worked as an aged carer in the community and recently my grandmother moved into a nursing home so aged care is a very personal topic for me. During my studies of elder abuse in Australia it has been a struggle to find up to date stats on just how bad elder abuse is here in Australia.
Yes federal and state governments are "seen" to be doing something in prevention of elder abuse. I'm sure this is occurring internationally as well. the older our populations get and living longer the rate of elder abuse increases. my concern it will become an epidemic before we know it. one case of elder abuse is too many I feel.
Through out my 4 years of study to be a social worker I have been called a number of not so nice things. So I was not surprised when after a few comments about my posting of elder abuse comments would turn to stories of negative experiences with social workers. hopefully when I am working with elders and their carers I can have a positive influence.
Insight you have all given as carers and workers has been very informative. the main message is we wont tolerate elder abuse. how we prevent it/report it as I suspected is no easy effort.
the need to get the message out is a start and not just every couple of years but on a regular basis. the ostrich in the sand approach will not work.
thank you for your ongoing opinions
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Rural... I reported that I smacked her hand because it was the right thing to do. I reacted in an inappropriate manner. I'm not beating myself up about it... it happened. Was it abuse? No. However, if I had hid it, and it came out later... THAT would have been construed as abuse because I was not honest about it. Caregivers live on the edge of a double edged sword.

I can fully relate to what both Madeea, horserider, and Austin have posted. My brother commented here while back that I had an overly developed sense of responsibility. I have worked SO hard for SO long to ensure that mother has EVERYTHING she needs BEFORE she even knows she needs it. DHS quite often does not care that we take better care of our loved ones than a facility could. They seldom care that more abuse happens in facilities than in private homes. Fortunately both DHS workers I dealt with were able to ascertain mother was not abused; unfortunately many DHS workers believe the initial report they are given rather than taking the time to actually investigate. People are removed daily because of false reports. By having untrained people being mandatory reporters those removals can and WILL escalate.
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