We’ve all heard or seen stories of someone obtaining a restraining order because they have been abused in some way and wish to keep someone from coming within a certain distance out of fear for their safety. What we don’t often hear, but is just as prevalent, is elder abuse. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, one to two million elders in the U.S. suffer from some type of physical, mental or financial abuse.
What is elder abuse?
Perpetrators of elder abuse may be family members, caregivers and nursing home employees who deprive a person over the age of 65 basic living essentials or cause them physical, financial or mental harm in some way. This may include neglect, abandonment, isolation, abduction or any subsequent behavior that causes the person to feel afraid or controlled.
What is an Elder Abuse Restraining Order used for?
Many laws have been put in place to protect the elderly from abuse. An Elder Abuse Restraining Order may be filed on the basis of:
- Personal Conduct, which forbids the person being restrained from abusing, intimidating, stalking, threatening, calling, emailing, texting, or destroying property of the person filing the order;
- Stay Away, which requires the person being restrained from coming within a certain distance (usually between 50 and 100 yards) of friends, family, caregivers, the residence, work, or other places the person filing the order frequents; or
- Move-Out, which forces the person being restrained to immediately move out of the home of the person seeking the order.
Depending on the type of abuse claimed, the person being restrained may also be forbidden to own and/or purchase a firearm.
Who can file an Elder Abuse Restraining Order?
If the person being abused is unfit to file the necessary paperwork, the order may be filed by any of the following: a conservator, trustee, guardian, attorney-in-fact, or Guardian ad Litem (someone with a power of attorney or authorization to act on their behalf).
What forms need to be filed?
To begin the process, the person being abused must fill out form EA-100, the Request for Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order. A declaration of specific past act(s) that have led to harm may also be needed to convince the court that imminent danger is present.
Once the restraining order has been issued, the person being restrained must be served the paperwork. Law enforcement can help enforce the restraining order free of charge, but a Proof of Personal Service (CLETS) form (DV-200) must be filled out by the officer.
As always, it’s best to consult with an attorney find out the best options for your particular situation.