It’s widely recognized that instances of elder abuse are drastically underreported, both by the abused and those who have contact with the abused. But a recent change to Ohio law seeks to increase the likelihood that suspected elder abuse will be reported in the state.
On September 29, Ohio expanded its mandatory reporting law for elder abuse to include a greater number of individuals in the financial services, legal and medical professions.
For example, pharmacists, dialysis technicians, firefighters, first responders, building inspectors, CPAs, real estate agents, bank employees, financial planners and notary publics are now by law required to report possible abuse or they could face criminal charges and fines of up to $500. Ohio law allows no exceptions for professional relationships, such as doctor/patient or attorney/client relationships.
Elder abuse can include physical, sexual or psychological abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment or financial exploitation. In addition to physical injuries, the following are just a few of the possible indicators: being isolated, missing appointments, appearing frightened or avoiding specific people, suddenly withdrawing from usual activities or interactions, changes in mood or temperament, changes in personal hygiene, or being resistant to touching.
Anyone in Ohio can report possible elder abuse 24/7 by calling 1-855-OHIO-APS or by contacting the nearest county department of job and family services (JFS). To find the nearest county JFS, visit jfs.ohio.gov/county. Physical proof or other evidence is not required and reports can be made anonymously.