When you place an elderly loved one in the care of another individual or entity, you trust that individual or entity to treat your loved one with the dignity, respect, and care they deserve. Unfortunately, when it comes to the care of elderly individuals, expectations are vastly different from reality. There are an estimated 5,000,000 new cases of nursing home financial, physical, and sexual abuse that occur each year. In this post, we’ll provide an overview on how to report elder abuse in Illinois. If you are struggling with how to proceed with this delicate matter, contact Dwyer & Coogan, P.C. today.
Who Can Report Elder Abuse in Illinois?
Anyone can report suspected elder abuse. Per the Adult Protective Services Act, anyone who reports suspected abuse, financial exploitation, or fraud in the state of Illinois, or anyone who cooperates with an investigation of a nursing home abuse complaint, is immune from civil or criminal liability or disciplinary action.
Thanks to protections provided by the act, the reporter’s identity shall not be disclosed unless the reporter gives written permission to do so or by court order. If you suspect abuse but do not wish to have your identity made public, you can also place an anonymous tip.
Who is Compelled to Report Elder Abuse in Illinois?
Most people are only compelled to report elder abuse if a loved one happens to be the victim. But there are certain professionals who are required, by law, to report any suspicions, founded or not. However, these professionals need only report suspected abuse of individuals who are unable to make the report themselves, such as individuals 60 years or older or people with disabilities who are between the ages of 18 and 59.
Professionals who must report suspected abuse of elderly or disabled individuals work within the following fields:
- Adult care
- Social services
- Law enforcement
- State services to seniors
- Social workers
How To Report Elder Abuse in Illinois
The state makes it relatively easy for individuals to report suspected elder abuse in Illinois:
- If you believe that a disabled loved one between the ages of 18 and 59 is the victim of abuse, pick up the phone and call the Adult Protective Services Hotline at 1-866-800-1409, 1-888-206-1327 (TTY).
- If your loved one lives in a nursing home facility, and if you suspect that they may be unsafe in the staff’s care, call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Nursing Home Complaint Hotline at 1-800-252-4343.
- If your loved one is a resident of a Supportive Living Facility (SLF), call the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ SLF Complaint Hotline at 1-800-226-0768.
When making your report, be prepared to provide details regarding the following:
- The alleged abuser’s name, age, relationship to victim, and sex
- The alleged victim’s name, age, general health, address, telephone number, and sex
- The name, profession, and contact information of the reporter
- The reason for your suspicions
- Whether or not you believe the alleged victim is in immediate danger
- Whether or not you believe the alleged victim can make the report him or herself and, if not, why
- The names of others who might be privy to the situation
- Whether or not the reporter is willing to be contacted in the future
- Any other information you feel is relevant to the situation
A Lawyer Can Help
If you suspect that the people you charged with the care and safety of your elderly loved one is actually causing your loved one harm, or if you yourself are the victim of elder abuse, place your report via one of the agencies mentioned above. You should also contact the experienced Chicago elder abuse attorneys at Dwyer & Coogan, P.C. to discuss possible legal remedies.