According to a recent article in the Denver Post, 82-year-old former lobbyist Charles Carter is working to change the fact that Colorado is one of only four states in the country that does not have mandatory reporting laws for suspected elder abuse. Professionals who work with children in Colorado: teachers and school staff, doctors and others are required to report suspected child abuse, but currently the same is not true of caregivers for elders and other at-risk adults. Mr. Carter is working hard to change that, and one person who appears to be on his side is First Judicial District Attorney Scott Storey, who has indicated that he would like to have a statute in place within the next year to two years. Mr. Carter has been working on this for the past thirteen years, with one mandatory reporting bill actually making it through the legislature in 2005, to be vetoed by Gov. Bill Owens. There are those who present arguments against mandatory reporting laws, but with 46 states already having them, there are plenty of places to look that suggest that the laws are effective and beneficial.
While an accurate measurement of the prevalence of elder abuse would be impossible, due to the lack of uniform reporting across states, and the fact that it is believed that a significant percentage of elder abuse cases go unreported, it is known to be a major problem in the country, as well as here in Colorado. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates the frequency of elder abuse between 2% and 10%, with only about 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse reported to authorities. Currently, professional caregivers in Colorado are strongly encouraged to report suspected abuse, but it seems likely that mandating that reporting would improve that 1 in 14 number, which, aside from helping more current victims of abuse, might help prevent future cases.
If you believe that your elder loved one is the victim of abuse, get him or her help immediately. If the situation is an emergency, please call 911 and get it handled. Rhett Meyer is an experienced Colorado elder abuse lawyer who can help direct you to the resources you need to help your elder family member, as well as providing the legal resources to recover compensation, and restore the dignity of your loved one. For more information and a FREE CONSULTATION, contact Rhett at (303)444-1618.