I feel like my dad is a danger to himself and others. What can I do?


He is paranoid locking me out of our home..being abusive. Both verbally and physically abusive. What can I do? I have power of attorney.

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I only know Maryland Law but here is one option.

If someone is suffering from a mental illness and is a danger to himself or others, family members can petition the court for a mental evaluation. If the petition is granted, the person will be picked up by law enforcement and taken to a local hospital for a 72 hour hold for a psych evaluation. That is a maximum of 72 hours. If the evaluation reveals that they need to be committed for further treatment, the evaluating physician gets a court order for a commitment.

This whole thing can also be triggered by a police officer filling out an emergency petition based on their personal observations or a report from a credible source.

The two elements are that they must be a danger to themselves or others and suffer from a mental illness.

A diagnosis of a mental illness is not required but there must be reasonable articulable suspicion that one exists.

Basically, a person can suffer from a mental illness and, as long as hey are not a danger to self or others, have a right to live their life.

A person can be a danger to themselves or other and as long as they don't suffer from a mental illness, they cannot be committed (they can be arrested for stuff but that is different).

Based solely on the information provided, he is suffering from a delusional disorder (paranoia) and is a danger to others (physically abusive to you). It looks like you have the two elements needed for a court ordered psychiatric hold.

I don't know your state laws but I venture to guess that they are similar. Go to the courthouse to get help. You do not need a lawyer for an emergency petition.

(I used to teach a course on this to police officers and used to work in a courthouse)
Helpful Answer (1)

How did you get POA?
What is wrong with your Dad?
Have you talked to his doctor?
Is the POA activated?
Can you just leave him alone awhile when he acts this way, take a walk?
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He can't legally lock you out if you live there ( in many states), regardless of whose name is on the lease. He would have to evict you if he owns the house. I know that's not the issue. You want to know how to make him stop abusing you. If you can have him evaluated perhaps medication will help. Talk to his doctor.
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Linda, can you give us some more information? It would help us provide more specific comments.

Are you a caregiver for your Dad? I take it you live with him, correct? What kind of assistance does he need? What are his impairments -- for example, does he have respiratory problems, mobility issues, dementia?

Is his abusiveness directed at you? Others as well? Is this new behavior, or is it consistent with his general approach to life?

One suggestion that is often made in this situation is to call 911 the next time he is physically abusive or threatens to harm you, then use the opportunity to force a mental health evaluation.

I hope you can tell us more, and I hope one of us can provide you with helpful advice. You definitely should not allow yourself to be in harm's way.
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Whose name(s) is/are on the title? Who is the actual owner? Unless Dad has been declared incompetent I think he can do this assuming this is in fact his house, his name is on the title and yours is not. If your name is on the title, then you probably would need to see an attorney.
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