by Mark A. Krohn, Partner
Jacobowitz & Gubits, LLP

In New York, physical abuse is defined as the infliction of physical pain or injury, or physical coercion, including confinement against one’s will.

Psychological abuse is defined as the infliction of mental anguish through intimidation, humiliation, threats, or isolation.

Financial abuse is the exploitation and/or improper use of funds or other resources.

Active neglect is the deliberate refusal or failure to fulfill a care-giving role, and passive neglect is defined as the unintentional refusal or failure to fulfill a care-giving role, because of inadequate knowledge, ability or capacity.

Adults who are at risk of abuse or neglect due to physical and/or mental impairments are eligible for services through Adult Protective Services, as defined by the New York State Social Services and Mental Hygiene laws. Services may be provided directly or under contract by not-for-profit agencies. A number of agencies in New York have programs that respond to calls by or on behalf of seniors who are victimized by crimes and domestic abuse including that caused by family members or significant others. Some not-for-profit agencies in New York are funded to provide assistance to victims of elder abuse. As an example, the police, District Attorney’s offices, and the State Attorney General’s Office investigate reports of elder abuse and neglect and may prosecute when the abuse rises to the level of a crime as defined by the state penal code.

Finally, understanding what has happened and knowing your legal options will provide peace of mind. If abuse is present or may be suspected, we recommend that an attorney familiar with the issues presented in this article be contacted immediately.