Unfortunately, as the nation’s population ages, issues of elder abuse have also grown. The issue is increasingly pervasive with one 2015 study estimating that approximately ten percent of Americans aged 60 or older have experienced some form of elder abuse. Even that percentage likely understates the problem, as studies suggest that only a small fraction of elder abuse incidents are ever reported to authorities.
If you believe someone you know or love has become the victim of elder abuse, it’s important to report your suspicions to law enforcement immediately. However, this is may not resolve the issue. An alarmingly small number of reported elder abuse cases are ever prosecuted because elder abuse cases are difficult to prove. That’s why more and more people are turning to private investigators for help in gathering evidence of abuse. An investigator from Trustify’s network of highly skilled experts can conduct a thorough investigation to confirm or deny any suspicions, identify the abuser(s), collect court-admissible evidence of the abuse, and work to bring the responsible persons to justice – both civilly and criminally.
What is Elder Abuse?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define elder abuse as: “… an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.” There are five main categories of elder abuse:
- Financial Abuse: Concerns the illegal, unauthorized, or otherwise improper, exploitation of the victim’s financial resources. Includes denying or limiting the victim’s access to his/her assets, benefits or entitlements by use of theft, forgery, misuse, intimidation, deception and/or coercion.
- Emotional/Psychological Abuse: Verbal or nonverbal abuse, such as yelling, screaming, threats, insults, and more.
- Neglect: Non-action or failure to protect the victim from harm, or to provide basic necessities, such as medical care, food, hydration, clothes, shelter, hygiene, or basic activities – resulting in serious risk to health and safety. The abuser is often a direct caregiver, but may be anyone who neglects the basic needs of the victim.
- Physical Abuse: Includes physical pain, bodily injury, illness, distress, functional impairment, or death – resulting from hitting, beating, shoving, scratching, kicking, shaking, or some other form of intentional physical act by the abuser.
- Sexual Abuse: Refers to any form of unwanted or forced sexual act or behavior by the abuser directed toward the abuse victim. The act may or may not involve physical contact. Includes acts committed against incapacitated persons or individuals incapable of giving informed consent.
Elder abuse can take place anywhere, but it most commonly occurs in the victim’s or legal guardian’s home, or in an elderly care facility such as a retirement home, nursing home, or hospital.
Why Start an Elder Abuse Investigation?
An elder abuse investigation can help protect victims of abuse in a number of ways. The investigation can:
- Determine whether abuse is occurring;
- Identify the abuser(s);
- Collect and document all evidence supporting the allegations of abuse;
- Provide proof of the abuse to the proper law enforcement authorities (where appropriate);
- Provide evidence to the victim and/or client in support of any related civil litigation or other proceedings;
- Remove the victim from the abusive environment and protect him or her from ever being victimized again.
Starting an Elder Abuse Investigation
Starting an Elder Abuse Investigation with Trustify is simple and stress free. Here’s how it works:
1. Request a Consultation: Submit your case online or by phone to schedule your consultation. We'll ask for the details we need to get your case matched with an investigator and provide cost estimates.
2. Consultation With a Private Investigator: A licensed private investigator will contact you to talk to you about the purpose and goals of the investigation, and to collect any relevant information about your case.
3. Investigation in Progress: Methods typically employed by investigators in elder abuse cases include:
- Public records searches: including criminal records, civil litigation records, employment verification, asset searches, and more.
- Surveillance and covert operations: including the use of hidden cameras to capture incidents of physical or emotional abuse, or neglect as they happen.
- Comprehensive background checks.
4. Case Updates & Final Report: Investigators in Trustify’s network will keep you apprised of all developments in real-time. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, a full written report will be provided along with any court-admissible evidence. In addition, your private investigator may be available to testify on your behalf in court, if necessary and agreed-upon before the start of the investigation.
What Investigators Will Not Do
Investigators in Trustify’s network will pursue all legal and ethical means in the handling of elder abuse investigations. Investigators will not to break the law or violate professional standards. For example, investigators will never enter private property without the owner’s permission, nor will they attempt to obtain legally protected information or data. Illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible in court, and will likely harm any effort to bring legal action as well as endanger the safety and security of victims.