Caregivers play an important role in protecting those in their care from abuse, including special needs and elderly adults, whether it's physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, or financial. One way to do this is by helping them get a protective order or getting one on their behalf. A Protection from Abuse order (PFA) is a court order that prohibits the abuser from having any contact with the applicant. It can also prohibit the abuser from coming within a certain distance of the applicant, their home, their workplace, or their school.
Abuse Is a Serious Crime in Pennsylvania
Abuse isn't limited to simply spouses and dating couples. That's why Pennsylvania law allows victims of abuse to seek a PFA against a "family or household member," including:
- Current or former spouses,
- Intimate partners,
- Those who have a child together,
- In-laws or someone related to the victim by marriage,
- Parents, children, or anyone related to the victim by blood, and
- Household members.
What Are Some Signs to Look Out For With Abuse of Adults?
According to the National Council on Aging, as many as five million elder Americans are abused every year. Likewise, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, disabled adults account for 26% of the victims of non-fatal violent crime in the U.S. If you suspect that a loved one you care for may be a victim of abuse, it's important to be on the lookout for certain signs. Here are a few signs that an elderly or disabled adult may be a victim of abuse.
- One of the first signs that something may be wrong is if your loved one suddenly seems different than usual. They may be more withdrawn or agitated than normal, and they may have trouble sleeping or eating.
- If you notice bruises or injuries on your loved one that doesn't have a clear explanation, this could be a sign that they're being abused. Of course, there are many other possible explanations for bruises or injuries, so it's important to consider this sign in conjunction with others before jumping to any conclusions.
- Financial abuse is all too common when it comes to adults with special needs and the elderly. If you notice that bills are going unpaid or money is missing from your loved one's bank account, this could be a sign that someone is taking advantage of them financially.
- Another common sign of abuse is isolation from friends and family members. If you notice that your loved one seems to be cut off from the outside world, this may be a sign that their abuser is trying to control them by limiting their contact with other people.
Can I Get a PFA on Behalf of Another Adult?
You can seek a protection from abuse order on behalf of another adult in Pennsylvania if you are their legal guardian and a court has declared them incapacitated. An elderly or disabled adult can also file for a PFA themselves if they have the capacity to do so. If you aren't the guardian of your loved one and you suspect abuse, or if your loved one won't or can't cooperate, a skilled attorney well-versed in PFA law in Pennsylvania may be able to help.
Reach Out for Legal Help
If you suspect that an adult in your care is the victim of abuse, you need experienced legal guidance fast. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the team at the Lento Law Firm have years of experience helping adult abuse victims, and they can help you navigate the next steps so that your loved one is protected.
Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. Your future depends on it.