Department of Children and Families Elder Abuse Hotline

Jacksonville Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Senior Citizens

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs works with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Aging Network to protect disabled adults and elderly individuals from abuse, exploitation, and neglect. These departments work together in order to identify elder abuse and neglect, and they take action to make sure that victims are safe from future harm. When elder abuse occurs, victims and their families can also hold those responsible liable through a civil claim. The Jacksonville elder abuse lawyers at The Lawrence Law Group represent people who have been harmed in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other settings in the legal claims necessary to ensure that at-fault parties are exposed and that victims receive compensation for the harm caused.

The Department of Children and Families Elder Abuse Hotline

The DCF Adult Protective Services operates the Florida Abuse Hotline, which fields calls regarding abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults. The hotline receives calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When a call is made, a DCF investigator is dispatched and visits the alleged victim in order to determine the validity of a claim and whether further action is necessary. If abuse is found, an investigator will authorize on-going protective supervision or arrange necessary services for the victim. If you believe that someone is being abused, neglected, or exploited, you should immediately call the Florida Abuse Hotline toll-free at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). All reports to the hotline are confidential.

Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are some of the most vulnerable elderly adults, since they rely on others for their basic needs and care. Sometimes these residents are unable to report or recognize neglect or abuse, and therefore they rely on relatives and visitors to take proper action. There are many different types of abuse and neglect, as well as certain signs of which you should be aware. The term “vulnerable adult” refers to any person who is 18 years old or older whose ability to care for himself or herself is impaired because of a mental, emotional, or long-term physical disability, dysfunction, brain damage, or age-related infirmity.

Elder abuse is defined as intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver, or a trusted individual, that may lead to harm to an elderly person. This abuse can be physical, emotional, mental, or sexual in nature. Elder abuse can also take the form of exploiting an individual, whereby a caretaker or another person in a position of trust uses deception or intimidation to obtain access to a vulnerable person’s assets, funds, or other property.

Neglect is defined under Florida law as a failure or omission by a caregiver to provide the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the vulnerable adult. This includes provisions regarding food, clothing, shelter, medicine, supervision, and medical services. Some common signs that a vulnerable adult is being abused or neglected include indications of physical harm, such as bruises, burns, or malnutrition, in addition to behavioral changes, such as fear, confusion, depression, or anxiety. Significant weight loss, unclean living conditions, and lack of access to proper medications are also red flags.

Anyone who believes that a vulnerable adult is being abused or neglected can make a report to the Florida Abuse Hotline. Callers should include specific descriptions of the incident when making the report and describe any circumstances that they have observed that may contribute to the risk of harm. Additionally, callers should provide details regarding the names, ages, and other identifying information of the victim as well as any other parties believed to be involved.

Contact a Compassionate Elder Abuse Attorney in the Jacksonville Area

If you suspect that someone is suffering from abuse, if you have questions about contacting DCF, or if you are considering pursuing a legal claim, the Jacksonville attorneys at The Lawrence Law Group can help you determine your next steps. Our firm represents victims throughout Duval, Clay, Nassau, Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, Baker, Brevard, Union, Columbia, Suwannee, Hamilton, Jefferson, Volusia, and Alachua Counties in all types of personal injury claims. You can contact us online or at (904) 632-0077 to set up a free consultation with a patients’ rights lawyer to discuss the legal options available to your loved one and your family.