More Ohioans Now Legally Required To Report Elder Abuse

  • 10/1/2018 5:20:24 PM
  • Jenna Ramolt
  • Local News

ONTARIO, OH - As of September 29, 2018, a change in Ohio Revised Code section 5101 requires more individuals in specific professions to make a report if they suspect an elderly individual is being exploited or abused.

According to Duana Patton, President and CEO of the Area Agency on Aging in Ontario, the number of reported elder abuse incidents have increased over the past year, most likely due to raised awareness from social media and laws like this one.

"It's broken out into three basic categories: medical professionals, individuals in financial institutions... as well as first responders. So it really does broaden those individuals who will really be watching out," said Patton.

Some of our most vulnerable citizens are elders, which means sometimes caretakers, landlords, family members, and even strangers can take advantage. Elder abuse can consist of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. Anyone can report abuse, even anonymously, and medical and financial professionals frequently do so. The law simply makes those professionals "mandated reporters," people required by law to make the report. This is done through the local family and jobs services, adult protective services, or in the case of Marion County, the Area Agency on Aging.

"This new law... will certainly allow vulnerable individuals to get the support and the help that they need," said Patton. She emphasized that reports do not require evidence or proof- the burden of proof lays with the agency investigating the abuse. "I say if in doubt, report."

There are resources at the Area Agency on Aging and Richland County Job & Family Services that explain how to identify elder abuse and how to report it. These resources are just as important as this new law in protecting some of Ohio's most vulnerable citizens.

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