blog Criminal Defense Elderly Victims and Domestic Violence: Know Your Rights

Elderly Victims and Domestic Violence: Know Your Rights

By Colorado Attorney-at-law on September 15, 2023

Domestic violence against older adults is a deeply concerning issue that often remains hidden from public view. The significance and prevalence of this problem cannot be overstated, as statistics reveal a stark reality. In the United States, approximately 1 in 10 elderly individuals experience some form of abuse, and these numbers might be even higher due to underreporting.

Domestic Violence Against the Elderly

When we discuss domestic violence against the elderly, it’s important to recognize the various forms of abuse that these vulnerable individuals may endure:

  • Physical abuse: This includes acts that cause physical harm, such as hitting, pushing, or restraining.
  • Emotional abuse: Elderly victims often face emotional manipulation, humiliation, or isolation, leading to severe psychological distress.
  • Financial abuse: Some perpetrators exploit elderly individuals financially, misusing their assets or coercing them into making financial decisions against their will.
  • Investment fraud: Elderly individuals may be targeted by fraudsters who deceive them into making risky or fraudulent investments, resulting in financial losses.
  • Telephone fraud: Scammers often use telephone calls to trick elderly individuals into revealing sensitive financial information or sending money under false pretenses.

Unique Vulnerabilities of Elderly Victims

In addition to knowing about the various kinds of abuse, it’s important to uncover what makes elderly individuals more vulnerable to such abuse. Elderly individuals are uniquely vulnerable to abuse due to the following:

  • Isolation: Many elderly individuals live in isolation, which can enable abusers to exert control and manipulation without interference.
  • Dependence: Elders may rely on their abusers for daily care and support, which can make it incredibly challenging to escape abusive situations.
  • Cognitive decline: Cognitive impairments, such as dementia, can complicate the recognition and reporting of abuse.
  • Fear: Fear of retaliation or institutionalization can deter victims from seeking help.
  • Lack of awareness: Some elderly individuals may not recognize that they are being abused or may hesitate to report it due to embarrassment or fear.

Elder Abuse Crimes and Penalties

In Colorado, the law acknowledges the gravity of elder abuse. However, there is no specific crime labeled “elder abuse” under state law. However, various crimes may fall under the umbrella of “elder abuse.” Importantly, Colorado has implemented penalty enhancements for certain crimes committed against victims aged 70 or older. These enhancements translate to harsher sentencing for offenders, including longer prison terms and substantial fines.

Caretaker neglect, defined by Section 18-6.5-102(6) of the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS), involves failing to provide timely and reasonable care, like food, clothing, shelter, or medical attention. Exceptions exist for valid medical directives and palliative care plans.

Furthermore, section 18-6.5-103(2) outlines penalties based on factors like the crime’s nature, whether it was committed knowingly or by someone in a position of trust, and the value of items involved. Defendants in elder abuse cases can range from family members to paid caretakers.

Understanding these legal provisions is vital to protecting elderly individuals in Colorado while holding perpetrators accountable.

Building a Strong Defense for Accused Individuals

Accusations of elder abuse demand a robust defense. Effective strategies may include:

  • Investigating false allegations: Gathering evidence to refute false claims and establishing a strong alibi.
  • Demonstrating lack of intent or evidence: Challenging the prosecution’s case by highlighting the absence of intent or compelling evidence.
  • Questioning causation: If appropriate, dispute that the accused was the cause of the injuries or harm.
  • Consulting medical experts: Seeking the expertise of medical professionals to evaluate injuries and provide testimony that counters allegations.

Committed to Protecting Your Rights and Future

In cases involving elderly victims of domestic violence, securing the assistance of an experienced Summit County criminal defense lawyer is crucial. At Whitaker & Penix, LLC, we offer the skill and personalized attention your case deserves.

Our Breckenridge domestic violence defense attorneys understand the nuances of Colorado law and the potential consequences surrounding each unique case. Our extensive trial experience and unwavering commitment to our clients make us a dependable and trustworthy choice.

Remember, you don’t have to face these allegations alone. Call us at (970) 368-0602 today to schedule a free consultation.

Posted in: Criminal Defense