As your loved ones age, they face an increased risk of abuse and neglect. The majority of this risk comes at the hands of their romantic partners and family members. Disturbingly, in more than half of all elder abuse and neglect cases, the perpetrator is a family member, usually a spouse or adult child. It is difficult to admit, yet one of your own family members could knowingly mistreat your parent, grandparent or other loved one.
If you suspect your elderly loved one is being abused by a spouse, romantic partner, or roommate, contact an experienced Wisconsin elder abuse lawyer from Studinski Law, LLC right away. We understand recognizing and confronting domestic violence involving the eldery is difficult. You must navigate family relationships while trying to protect your parent or grandparent. We will help you get your loved one the care they need in a safe place and advise you about their legal rights.
Call us at (715) 343-2850 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Understanding Elder Abuse
Elder abuse occurs when a person over the age of 60 is mistreated by an individual in a position of power over them. This mistreatment can occur through both intentional actions and failures to act by any individual who has a responsibility to care for the elderly person.
There are many forms of elder abuse, including:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Treatment without consent
While the misconduct may physically injure the senior, this is not required for an action to constitute abuse. Any mistreatment that creates a risk of harm to the older adult can constitute elder abuse.
Defining Domestic Violence Under the Law
Under Wisconsin law, domestic abuse occurs when an adult is harmed by their spouse, former spouse, any adult living or formerly living in the same household, or an individual with whom they had a child. It includes:
- Intentional infliction of physical pain, injury, or illness,
- Intentional impairment of the victim’s physical condition,
- Non-consensual sexual contact, and
- Any physical act that causes the victim to reasonably fear imminent violence or sexual assault.
The Intersection of Elder Abuse and Domestic Violence
All elder abuse is not domestic violence since it may be perpetrated by a stranger, friend, hired caretaker, or a facility’s staff member. However, a great deal of domestic violence is also elder abuse. Domestic violence constitutes elder abuse if the perpetrator creates a risk of harm for an individual who is a current or former spouse, current or former household member, or the other parent of their child and who is 60 years or older.
Criminal Liability for Elder Abuse and Domestic Violence
While some states have created elder-abuse-specific criminal offenses in recent years, Wisconsin has not made elder abuse a crime. However, specific acts that constitute elder abuse may also be a crime. For instance, financial abuse against a person 60 years or older through fraud or theft would be an offense in the state and could lead to criminal penalties, such as imprisonment, fines, and probation.
Similarly, Wisconsin does not have a specific domestic violence statute. Instead, violent acts such as assault and battery, kidnapping, sexual assault, and homicide can constitute domestic violence and are prosecuted individually. When a crime amounts to domestic violence, the victim may be afforded greater protections like a no contact order, and the perpetrator may face harsher punishments.
Civil Liability for Elder Abuse and Domestic Violence
Even if an individual’s misconduct toward your loved one does not constitute a specific crime, it may still create civil liability. If your loved one has been injured due to elder abuse perpetrated by a spouse or romantic partner, contact an experienced Steven’s Point personal injury lawyer at Studinski Law, LLC right away.
There are a number of ways we can work to help your elderly loved one, including assisting you in finding them a safe place to live, obtaining a restraining order against their abuser, and if necessary, filing a personal injury lawsuit. It may be difficult to fathom suing a family member or close family friend. However, if your loved one was hurt and must now deal with the physical, emotional, and financial ramifications of abuse, it may be necessary to hold the perpetrator liable for their actions.
Through a personal injury suit, your loved one can seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of society and companionship
Let Our Wisconsin Elder Abuse Lawyers Help You Today
When you learn that your elderly parent or grandparent is being abused, you may not know what to do. It is a particularly difficult when the apparent abuser is their long-term partner or another member of your family. You may not know what to say or who to call for help. That is why the nursing home abuse lawyers of Studinski Law, LLC are here. By calling us, you gain experienced and knowledgeable legal representation from attorneys who can help you keep your loved one safe and hold the wrongdoer responsible for their actions.
We serve clients in Wood County, Portage County, Waupaca County, Marathon County, and surrounding areas. To schedule a time to discuss the situation, call us at (715) 343-2850 or use our online contact form.