California recently launched a hotline that would provide free and confidential legal advice for abused seniors. The hotline aims to refer seniors to other resources based on their specific situation. The project is being funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Senior citizens over the age of 60 can call the California Senior Legal Hotline and report any type of physical, sexual, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse they may be facing by loved ones or in nursing home facilities. Under California law, neglect may also be considered a form of abuse depending on the severity.
The California hotline is designed to address the growing problem of elder abuse. A 2004 study conducted by the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA) found a 19.7 percent increase in the combined total of reports of elder and vulnerable adult abuse and neglect. Perhaps the most surprising part of the study indicates that an overwhelming majority of cases, approximately 89 percent of the abuse, was reported to occur in domestic settings.
For the hotline to be truly successful, the next step is to inform senior citizens that they have this service at their disposal.