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Elder Abuse & Colorado’s New Mandatory Reporting Law . What does this mean for you?. 1 st JD Elder Abuse Unit Jefferson & Gilpin Counties Scott Storey – Senior Chief Candace Werth – Prosecutor. Colorado DHS APS Fonda Barkofske Program Specialist. Elder Abuse:. What is it and

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Elder Abuse & Colorado’s New Mandatory Reporting Law

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Elder Abuse & Colorado’s New Mandatory Reporting Law

What does this mean for you?

1st JD Elder Abuse Unit

Jefferson & Gilpin Counties

Scott Storey – Senior Chief Candace Werth – Prosecutor

Colorado DHS APS

Fonda Barkofske

Program Specialist

Elder Abuse:

What is it and

What’s the Big Deal?

Elder Abuse can be…

Physical, Financial, Sexual Abuse or Neglect

Different Types of Abuse go Hand-in-Hand

A Victim that is Financially Exploited may also be Sexually or Physically Assaulted

A Neglect Victim may also be Financially Abused

Elder Abuse can be…

Traditionally it has been …




Similar to Child Abuse in 80’s & DV in 90’s

Why Elders?

Elder Adults

Vulnerable Population

May Rely on Others

Help with ADL (activities of daily living)

Help with bills, conducting business, errands

Burden of care can lead to Neglect

Stress can lead to Physical Assaults

Financial Assets

Family Caregiver Stress

80% of Alzheimers and Dementia care in the home is provided by family members

61% Caregivers rated stress as high or very high

33% reported symptoms of Depression

56% reported strain regarding finances

53% reported strain in family relationships

2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures; Alzheimer’s Association

Colorado is Growing and Aging

  • Total State Population grew 17% from 2000-2010

  • Persons age 70 years and over will increase 28% by 2017

  • Persons age 70 years and over will increase 142% by 2032

S.B. 12-078 Report

November 30, 2012

The Number of People that live to 90 and beyond has tripled in the past three decades

The Number of People that are 65 years old or older is 40 million (13% of our population and growing)

One in 10 older Americans experience abuse – many in multiple forms.

70-90% of the Perpetrators of Elder Abuse are family members, loved ones or caregivers

Source: AgelessAlliance.org


The annual loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at least $2.9 billion dollars.

“Silver Tsunami”

2001 Pew Report

Jeffco’s Elder Abuse Unit

2012 Caseload Breakdown

Types of Elder Abuse Cases – 2012

11% Robbery & Theft from Person

Random Thug / Purse Snatch

54% Theft, ID Theft & Burglary

Kids, Grandkids, Neighbors and Nurses

34% Assault

Drunken Son

1% Sex Assault

Caregiver, Family Friend, Maintenance Man

Assisted Living & Nursing Home Cases

Drug Diversion

Taking patients meds

Thefts & ID Theft

POA Fraud

Home discovers theft


Sexual Assault

Employee on Resident

Resident on Resident

Elders are Today’s Forgotten Victims

Hurdles to Prosecution

Traditional Reaction to Financial Abuse:

“It’s Civil. We can’t do anything about it.”

Why Report when Authorities do Nothing?!?

[That’s the myth we need to correct now]

Elder Victims make Poor Witnesses

Can’t prosecute with a Dead Victim

Reluctant and Recanting Victims

Appears Civil

Not a crime if the Victim was reimbursed

Not a crime if the Victim was aware or gave consent

Grandma vs. Gangbanger

Hello – Murder Cases. We do it all the time

Nothing new -> DV Cases

Don’t Assume – Dig Deeper

Theft involves your Intent when you take it

Undue Influence negates consent


Colorado’s New Law

Mandatory Reporting of Elder Abuse

Senate Bill 13-111

Mandatory Reporting of Elder Abuse

Colorado: 1 of only 3 states that didn’t require those that work with Elders to Report Abuse

Law Signed 5/16/13

Training began January 2014

Reporting becomes mandatory July 1, 2014


Had Enhanced Crimes Against At-Risk Adults

C.R.S. §18-6.5-103

At-Risk Adult was ≥ 60 yoa

Had Urged Reporting under Title 26

Reporters are ‘urged’ to report abuse including self neglect

Now SB 13-111 created…

Addition Crimes & Mandatory Reporting of Elder Abuse

C.R.S. §18-6.5-108:

Those who Work with the At-Risk Elder Population Must Report Known or Suspected Abuse AND

Law Enforcement MUST Investigate when Appropriate

At-Risk Adult and At-Risk Elder ≥ 70 yoa

Mandatory Reporting

  • Who are reporters?

  • What needs to be reported?

  • What are the responsibilities of law enforcement?

Mandatory ReportersWho?

Medical professionals including

Doctors, Nurses, Chiropractors, Pharmacists, Dentists, Medical Examiners & Coroners

Law enforcement officials and personnel

Fire protection & EMS

Hospitals & Care facilities

Home care placement agency

Court-appointed guardians and conservators

Community-centered board staff

Psychologists & Mental Health professional

Social work practitioners


Financial institutions

**All above – whether paid or unpaid

Mandatory ReportersWhat?

Any person who has observed abuse or exploitation of an at-risk elder, or who has reasonable cause to believe that an at-risk elder has been abused or has been exploited or is at imminent risk of abuse or exploitation, shall report such fact to a law enforcement agency not more than 24 hours after making the observation or discovery.

Lingering Questions:

What Else Do I have to do?

Reporters Duties:

  • Report known or suspected abuse or exploitation to Law Enforcement

  • within 24 hours

  • That’s it!

    • Reporters do not investigate

    • Reporters do not locate evidence

    • Reporters do not interview witnesses

Reporter’s job is Simple . . .

Make the Call!!

What is “Abuse” and “Exploitation” under Mandatory Reporting Law?

Definitions . . . .


C.R.S. §18-6.5-102(1)

Non-accidental bodily injury, SBI or death

Confinement or restraint that is unreasonable under generally accepted caretaking standards

Subject to sexual conduct or contact classified as a crime

Caretaker neglect


C.R.S. §18-6.5-102(10)

Use of deception, harassment, intimidation or undue influence to permanently or temporarily deprive an at-risk elder of the use, benefit or possession of his/her money, assets or property,

OR. . .

Without legal authority:

  • Hires a third party for the profit or advantage of the person or another person to the detriment of the at-risk,

    Example: Paying friends or family to clean or do yard work

    OR. . .


Without legal authority:

Forces, compels, coerces or entices an at-risk elder to perform services for the profit or advantage of the person or another person against the will of the at-risk elder, OR . . .

Example: Childcare, house cleaning, etc.

Misuse property of at-risk elder in manner that adversely affects the at-risk elder’s ability to receive health care or health care benefits or to pay bills for basic needs and obligations

Example: Takes money or assets (with or without permission) and Elder cannot qualify for Medicaid or other assistance.

C.R.S. §18-6.5-102(10)


“Exploitation” is not a separate crime but it may be theft, extortion or other crime.

Exploitation must be reported to Law Enforcement.

Investigation needed because it might lead to criminal charges.

Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Within 24 hours –

Mandatory Reporter Shall File Report with Law Enforcement within 24 hours of Observation or Belief of Abuse

C.R.S. §18-6.5-108(1)(a)

Lingering Questions:

What Police Agency Do I Call?

What Number Do I Call?

To Whom do you Report?

  • Report should be made in Jurisdiction where Suspected Abuse or Exploitation Occurred

  • If it is unknown where it occurred then call your local law enforcement agency

Call 911 for:

  • “In Progress” abuse

  • or involved parties are on scene

    Call Non-Emergency number for Local Law Enforcement Agency for:

  • Abuse discovered or suspected that is not imminent

  • “Cold Calls” or if abuse occurred previously

  • No Immediate Danger

You may be referred to another jurisdiction when it is appropriate.

If so, you will need to make report to that agency to fulfill the Mandatory Reporting Requirements.

Mandatory Reporting

Exception –

Mandatory reporter knows another person has already reported the same allegation to law enforcement

C.R.S. §18-6.5-108(d)

Law Enforcement Needs:

Name, Address, and Contact Info of

the At-Risk Elder

the person making the report

the at-risk elder’s caretaker, if any

Name of the Alleged Perpetrator

Nature and Extent of the Condition that Required the Report to be Made

Any other Pertinent Information

C.R.S. §18-6.5-108(2)(a)

Purpose of Mandatory Reporting Law:

Encourage Reporting &

Stop Elder Abuse!


Report MUST be made to Law Enforcement

Reporting based on licensing requirements (Board of Nursing, Board of Health, etc.) is not sufficient.

You can’t report to APS and have them call Law Enforcement

Lingering Questions:

What if I am Wrong?


If the Report is Made in Good Faith

– Reporter is Immune from suit and liability for damages in any civil action or criminal prosecution*

*Exception – No Immunity for Perpetrator even if Perpetrator Reports the Abuse

Reporting duty does not create a civil duty of care or establish a civil standard of care that is owed to an at-risk elder

C.R.S. §18-6.5-108(2)(c)(3), (4), (5)

Lingering Questions:

What happens AFTER the report is made?

Law Enforcement Responsibilities

Within 24 hours – L.E. shall notify Human Services agency and District Attorney’s Office of report (where alleged abuse/exploitation occurred)

L.E. shall complete investigation when appropriate

L.E. shall provide summary report of the investigation to appropriate Human Services agency and District Attorney’s Office

C.R.S. §18-6.5-108(2)(b)

Lingering Questions:

Will the Police REALLY investigate when in the past they haven’t bothered or don’t seem to care?

Learning Curve . . .


  • The system won’t be Perfect Right Away

    • Some Jurisdictions Ahead of Others

    • Some Jurisdictions Not Yet Up-To-Speed

  • Training needed for Prosecutors, Police, Reporters

  • Be Patient and Persistent

  • Together – We can make the Change

Some Examples . . .


Bank Teller

Person exerting influence to get Elder to withdraw money, change beneficiary or add POA

Observes Elder with bruises and appears to be victim of an assault

Health Care Worker

Believes a co-worker stole from a resident because wallet or jewelry missing and no one else had access

Observes a resident sexually assault another resident


On routine visit observes bruising not consistent with accidental bumps or medication regimen

Lingering Questions:

What if I DON’T report?

Failing to Report - Penalties

Willfully Failing to Report Known or Suspected Elder Abuse

Class 3 Misdemeanor

Up to $750 Fine

Up to 6 months in Jail

GOAL: Encourage reporting NOT prosecute those that fail to report.

C.R.S. §18-6.5-108(c)

  • Knowingly Filing a False Report

    • Class 3 Misdemeanor

    • Up to $750 Fine

    • Up to 6 months in Jail

2013 Crimes and Changes


Caretaker Neglect, M1

knowingly commits Caretaker Neglect

Crimes Against At-Risk Elder, M1

knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical or mental welfare of an At-Risk Elder

C.R.S. §18-6.5-103(6)


C.R.S. §18-6.5-102(5)

A person who:

  • Is Responsible for the care of Elder as a result of a Family or Legal Relationship, OR

  • Has Assumed Responsibility for Elder, OR

  • Is Paid to Provide Care or Services to an At Risk Elder

Caretaker Neglect:

C.R.S. §18-6.5-102(6)

When adequate food, clothing, shelter, physical care, psychological care, medical care, or supervision is not provided in a timely manner and with the degree of care that a reasonable person in the same situation would exercise.


When withholding, withdrawing, or refusing any service is in accordance with valid medical directive or order or palliative plan

Self-Neglect is not a Crime*

*APS, animal control, code enforcement might be helpful though

Types of Physical Abuse

  • “Traditional”

    • Hitting, slapping, etc

  • Overmedicating

  • Force-feeding

  • Restraining

  • Smothering

If Victim is At-Risk Elder:

3° Assault: M1  F6

“Knowingly or Recklessly causing Bodily Injury to an At-Risk Elder”

No actual Injury, Bruising or Marks Required

Physical Pain is sufficient

C.R.S. §18-6.5-103(3)(c)

2° Assault: F4  F3

“knowingly or recklessly causing Serious Bodily Injury to an At-Risk Elder”

“Knowingly or recklessly causing Bodily Injury to an At-Risk Elder by means of a deadly weapon”

C.R.S. §18-6.5-103(3)(b)

1° Assault: F3  F2

“Knowingly or Recklessly causing Serious Bodily Injury to an At-Risk Elder by means of a deadly weapon.”

C.R.S. §18-6.5-103(3)(a)

We are Telling the Police to STOP ASKING…

Victims in Colorado don’t have to ‘sign a complaint’

Victims in Colorado don’t have to sign a commitment to prosecute

Victims don’t bring the cases

Victims don’t have to agree with or support the charges



Please, Don’t put that pressure on them!

We don’t ask a Victim of DUI crash if she wants to Prosecute

We don’t ask a Bank Teller if he wants the Robber Prosecuted

Stop asking Elder Victims. It makes them feel responsible and have guilt over charges

Senate Bill 14-98, Effective 4/7/14

Criminal Exploitation of an At-Risk Elder:

Knowingly using deception, harassment, intimidation or undue influence to permanently or temporarily deprive an at-risk elder of the use, benefit, or possession of anything of value.

F3 if ≥ $500

F5 if < $500

C.R.S. §18-6.5-403 (7.5)

“Undue Influence” means the use of influence to take advantage of the at-risk Elder’s vulnerable state of mind, neediness, pain or emotional distress.

C.R.S. 18-6.5-102 (13)

Uniform Power of Attorney Act

Duties of an Agent. C.R.S.§15-14-714

Act in accordance with principal’s expectations

Avoid conflicts of interest

Act with care, competence and diligence

Act in good faith

Act within scope of POA

Act loyally

Keep a record of all receipts, disbursements, and transactions

Preserve estate plan of principal

POA – specific grants of authority

“Hot powers” – agent CANNOT do the following without a specific grant of authority from principal for the following transactions:

Create, amend, revoke a trust

Make a gift

Create or change beneficiary designations

Non-family member cannot create an interest in the principal’s property for self or others.

C.R.S. §15-14-724

Having Legal Access to the Money doesn’t mean it is NOT a crime.

Access doesn’t make it Civil!

POA Commits Theft when they convert asserts or money for their own use

Child commits Theft when they unduly influence Elder into signing over Deed to the house

Training mandatory reporters

Law enforcement program

Financial institutions, medical professionals, etc.

POST/Jeffco Training Task Force

  • Created 4 hour POST Training

  • Explain Elder Abuse & Mandatory Reporting

  • Each department and Sheriff’s Office must have AT LEAST ONE officer trained

  • Training began January 2014.

Collaboration / Partnerships

Law Enforcement

Adult Protective Services

Probate Judge and Staff

Elder Law Lawyers

Forensic Accountants

Elder Abuse List Serve

Challenges of Working With Elders

Reluctant Victims

Victims might:

  • Recant statement

  • Withhold information

  • Protect abuser rather than focus on personal safety

  • Leave an abuser only to return later

  • Not follow through on an investigation

  • Not take advice from law enforcement

Victim Fears:

Sending Perp

to Prison















Victim with Diminished Capacity

Cognitive Defects do not mean a lack of capacity

Victim may still be able to testify

Work with the Victim

Short, focused sentences

Surround Victim with Corroborating Evidence

Show Vulnerability

They make GREAT witnesses -

It just takes TIME!

Working with Elder Victims

Talk slower

Get on their level if seated or in wheelchair

Be Patient

May have to return the next day

Stress of event



May take several meetings to accomplish purpose

You might be surprised who may be an abuser. . .

Impact of Mandatory Reporting

  • FOCUS: Individuals who work with a vulnerable population are required to report any type of witnessed or suspected abuse

  • TRAINING: Every law enforcement agency must have at least one person trained by POST standards regarding Elder Abuse

  • IMPACT: Criminal filings will increase

  • PURPOSE: Intent is to compel reporting not prosecute people for failing to report

What is the Role of APS?

Title 26-Human Services Codes

Helps at-risk adults when they are unable to meet their own needs and are victims of mistreatment.

Investigate reports of alleged mistreatment.

Offers protective services for at-risk adults who have been mistreated.

Collaborates with law enforcement, the District Attorney, and other community partners to help protect at-risk adults.

APS will continue as usual.

APS will continue to take reports of mistreatment and self-neglect of at-risk adults.

The same group of professionals who are required to report mistreatment of at-risk elders are urged to report mistreatment and self-neglect of at-risk adults.

Anyone can and should report suspected abuse or neglect to APS or law enforcement.

At-Risk Adults

Title 26-3.1-101


Examples of at-risk adults


Examples of adults who are NOT “at risk adults”



Self-Neglect is NOT a crime

Self-neglect occurs when an at-risk adult endangers his/her health, safety, welfare, or life by not getting the services they need to meet their basic human needs.

Examples and Signs of Self-Neglect

APS Priorities


Right to Refuse Services

At-risk adults have the right to make lifestyle choices that others may see as objectionable or even dangerous, including:

Refusing medical treatment or medication

Choosing to abuse alcohol or drugs

Living in a dirty or cluttered home

Continuing to live with the perpetrator

Keeping large numbers of pets, or

Engaging in other behaviors that may not be safe


Making a Report to APS

Have as much information as possible about the at-risk adult, the perpetrator and what is concerning you. APS will need the following information:

Name and address of the at-risk adult.

A description of the alleged mistreatment and the situation; what did you observe?

What is the nature and extent of the injury?

Who is the alleged perpetrator; name and address if possible.

Any other information that you feel is relevant.


What Happens After I Make a Report?

APS will screen the report and determine the appropriate response.

The report may be shared with law enforcement.

APS will take appropriate action, which may include an investigation.

APS may request a joint investigation with law enforcement or another agency.

APS may offer protective services to the at-risk adult


Beginning July 1, 2014, you MUST report:

Now and continuing after July 1, 2014, you are URGED to report:


Our Goal…


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