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Why Does Elder Abuse Often Go Unreported?

One of the biggest dangers of elder abuse in Florida is that it often goes unreported. If your family member is a victim of abusive behavior, how will you ever know what has happened if he or she does not share with you? And if you do not report the wrongdoings, how will your family member get help?

Understanding the common reasons why elder abuse often goes unreported can help you educate your aging family members. It may also give your whole family more confidence to take a proactive approach to report maltreatment.

Fear of retaliation

Your loved one could suffer abuse at the hands of a family member or a stranger. According to the National Institute of Justice, a startling 83.3% of abuse by a stranger was not reported to law enforcement. This number expanded to 89.9% for abuse by a family member or friend. One reason your family member may refrain from reporting mistreatment is out of fear of retaliation.

If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of abuse, do your best to gather evidence that backs abuse claims. Adding context to a claim may help your loved one feel more confident in the believability of his or her story. This may also increase the likelihood of punishment for the perpetrator.

Lack of resources

Another reason your family member may refrain from reporting abusive behavior is not knowing where to go. As your loved one ages and transitions to an assisted living facility, provide education about when to report abuse, how to report abuse and who to inform. Tell your family member that if he or she feels fearful of reporting mistreatment to confide in you and you will do the reporting.

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