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Elder Abuse Unit

The State Attorney has identified elder abuse and exploitation as a high priority for the office. The State Attorney’s Office has put an emphasis on prosecuting crimes against the significant senior population in Palm Beach County by designating an elder abuse prosecutor. The elder abuse prosecutor coordinates the numerous elder abuse investigations and prosecutions within Palm Beach County and provides a community resource for other law enforcement and for senior citizens.

Florida statutes specifically address abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly and disabled adults. Abuse is the intentional infliction of physical or psychological injury. Neglect is the failure or omission to provide necessary care, supervision or services.

The perpetrators may be caregivers, whether in nursing homes, adult living facilities, or victims’ own homes. Offenses may include financial crimes against persons by those in a position of trust or a business relationship. Battery on a person over 65 increases a misdemeanor battery to a felony.

One important initiative is Operation Spot Check — Spot Check includes monthly unannounced inspections of nursing homes and adult living facilities in Palm Beach County. The State Attorney’s Office coordinates the inspections, bringing together all agencies that license adult protective services in our community.

Another significant commitment to the safety of seniors is the new Elder Abuse/Vulnerable Adult Investigations Protocol. This new community-wide agreement sets of procedures and contacts amongst the State Attorney’s Office, Department of Children and Families (DCF) and law enforcement when an incident may involve the abuse or exploitation of the elderly or a disabled adult. This protocol will help authorities better coordinate their efforts and provide assistance to victims.

Vulnerable Adult Protocol

Vulnerable Adult Protocol Definitions

If you or a senior you know is a victim of a crime, whether physical or financial, this should be reported immediately to law enforcement. If you suspect that you or someone you know is a victim of Elder Abuse, contact the Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96ABUSE.

A Department of Children and Families Adult Protective Services investigator will determine whether the victim is in need of services and make certain that he or she is living in a safe environment. The investigator will request assistance from law enforcement and, when appropriate, will work with the State Attorney’s Office.

Numbers You Need To Know

The Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline:

Operation Spot Check – Contact the State Attorney’s Office:

Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders

Alzheimer’s 24 Hour Crisis Line:

Alzheimer’s Association Southeast Florida Chapter:

Alzheimer’s Community Care:

Crisis Intervention

Information and Crisis Services:
- dial 211

Elder Helpline

Aging Resource Center:
Open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Elder Law Unit of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County:

Nursing Home/Adult Living Facilities

Licensing-Association for Health Care Administration:
(AHCA) 561-496-5900

Resident Advocacy-Long Term Care Ombudsman:

Victim Assistance

State Attorney’s Office:

Elder Victim of Crime Assistance: