Reporting Elderly and Disabled Persons Abuse: The State of Maryland
Who is the mandated reporter?
Individuals mandated with the reporting of abuse among the elderly or disabled persons could be categorized in particular groups. For instance, the vulnerable adult cases should be reported by police officers, health practitioners, or human services workers who attend to such cases. In most instances, these professionals could be involved in various ways, such as through receiving a contact call, examining the situation, evaluating the threats, attending to affected persons, and responding to the alleged vulnerable persons (RAINN, 2020). This places a profound mandate on them for reporting such cases to avoid escalation to severe levels, and for ensuring that the necessary actions can be taken. In cases revolving around developmentally disabled persons, mentally ill residents in a facility, and residents of a related institution, any person who notices or witnesses the problem has the mandate to report. This increases room for the persons with an obligation to report abuses in place of the affected persons.
Who is exempt from reporting (if applicable)?
It does not apply.
What is the definition of an “adult”?
The vulnerable adults comprise of individuals who are at higher risk of being subjected to abuse of any form. The abuse can be in the form of neglect, sexual violation, physical harm, or inappropriate behavior upon the person (Vulnerable Adult, n.d.). The individual who lacks the ability to protect themselves due to incapacity to do so is considered vulnerable.
What are the penalties for failing to report?
The persons who are mandated to report cases of alleged abuse within three days upon learning of the alleged abuse and potential harm are liable to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 for the failure to report the case or incident. The persons mandated to report alleged abuse cases have an obligation to exercise the State powers and authority in protecting the vulnerable groups (NSVRC, 2018). Therefore, failure to fulfill the mandates is understood as neglecting of duty, which dangerously promotes the escalation of the alleged abuse through curtailing the intervention opportunity and time.
What information is needed for the report?
The critical information that needs to be included in the report comprises of the personal information of the adults alleged to be abused. This includes the name, age, and home address of the alleged vulnerable adult to enable the relevant authorities to take proper actions. Also, information of the person responsible for the care and checking on the alleged vulnerable person should include their names and home address (RAINN, 2020). Any information on the whereabouts of the alleged vulnerable person is essential in boosting the appeal of the case. Other relevant information includes the incapacity and nature of the alleged vulnerable person to protect themselves as well as the nature and extent of the abuse, its diverse form, and manifestation. The collection of essential evidence of injuries, harm, abuse, exploitation, neglect, and self-neglect is essential. Furthermore, the inclusion of any other person who may help in identifying the individual responsible for the abuse towards the alleged vulnerable adult is also vital.
State dealing with the reporting of elder abuse and/or abuse against a person with disabilities
The provision of the adult abuse hotline “1-800-332-6347,” a toll-free number to the department of social service office, provides all members of the community an opportunity to inform the relevant authorities that can pursue the case and formally report it for further scrutiny. This provides an opportunity for quick response to cases of elderly and disabled person abuse as well as allowing the necessary actions to commence (National Domestic Violence Hotline, n.d.). However, the state has failed to clearly define what determines that the alleged perpetrator of the abuse is presumed guilty. The action should attract severe punishment upon defiling and abusing elderly and disable persons in any form.
RAINN. (March 2020). Mandatory Reporting Requirements: The Elderly Maryland. https://apps.rainn.org/policy/policy-state-laws.cfm?state=Maryland&group=5&_ga=2.193923877.946427698.1587531923-1529868458.1585970886
NSVRC. (2018). Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. National Sexual Violence Resource Center – Founded by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. https://www.nsvrc.org/states-territories/maryland
National Domestic Violence Hotline. (n.d.). What to expect when you contact us. https://www.thehotline.org/help/what-to-expect-when-you-contact-the-hotline/
Vulnerable Adult: Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law §§ 14-101, 14-302, 14-309; Md. Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 5-622.