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Elder Abuse

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Any willful act perpetrated against a person 65 years of age or older or a dependent adult between the ages of 18 and 64 who has incapacitating physical of mental limitation, in which the elder of dependent adult is subjected to physical pain or mental suffering, or is knowingly permitted to suffer such that his or her person or health is endangered. This includes financial exploitation or fiduciary abuse by a caretaker or person in a position of trust.



Types of Elder Abuse:

 Isolation  Financial Exploitation
 Mental or Psychological
 Sexual  Verbal  Threats of Assault
 Deprivation of Basic Needs
 Neglect  Theft  Cruel Punishment
 Physical Violence





Causes of Elder Abuse:

 Caregiver Stress
 Family Violence
 Pathological Abuse
 Substance Abuse
 Financial Dependency
 Physical Dependency




Misconceptions About Elder Abuse

 "The victim won't be able to testify, so there cannot be a criminal case."

If a doctor's testimony or medical records prove the victim was not competent at the time of the transaction, and other evidence shows the suspect knew of this condition, a case may proceed without the victim's testimony. However, if the case involves other theories - such as theft by threats, duress, misrepresentations, or false promises, or embezzlement of property entrusted for certain purposes - the testimony of the victim may be necessary.

"The elder signed a Power of Attorney for the suspect, so the suspect could do what he/she wanted with the property."

If the elder was not competent when she signed the Power of Attorney, and the suspect knew this, the Power of Attorney cannot be considered a gift of valid consent. In addition, most Powers of Attorneys state that transactions will be done for the "use and benefit" of the person giving the Power of Attorney. Even if this language is not present, it should be argued that it should be implied as a matter of law unless there was a clear and knowing intent to gift certain property. Thus, there may be embezzlement if the suspect used or converted property for his own benefit.

"The suspect was on the bank account, so we cannot prove theft of money from the account."

The victim may have had a specific agreement with the suspect that the suspect could use the money only for certain purposes. Use of the money for other purposes is embezzlement. The victim may not have been competent when the suspect was placed on the account.