The Elder Abuse Unit consists of one Deputy Sheriff Detective assigned full-time to the investigation of crimes against elderly persons. The Deputy Sheriff Detective is also responsible for the training and education of local law enforcement and the community in Elder Abuse. The Elder Abuse Unit actively investigates crimes where elderly persons or dependent adults have suffered physical injury, emotional trauma, or financial abuse by a caretaker or other person knowing the victim is an elder. As defined by the Penal Code, elder abuse is an act occurring to someone of the age of 65 or older or who is a dependent adult. Criminal penalty enhancements can sometimes be brought against a perpetrator if the victim is older than the age of 70.
Types of Elder Abuse
- Physical abuse includes assault, battery, assault with a deadly weapon, unreasonable physical constraint, prolonged or continual deprivation of food or water, sexual assault, and rape.
- Emotional abuse includes fear, agitation, confusion, severe depression and other forms of serious emotional distress that are brought about by threats, harassment and intimidation.
- Financial abuse can result from taking, secreting or appropriating money or property of an elder or dependent adult by a person who has the care or custody of or who is in a position of trust to that elder or dependent adult.
- Negligence occurs if a caregiver fails to: assist the elder or dependent adult in personal hygiene; provide food, clothing or shelter; protect from health and safety hazards; or prevent malnutrition or dehydration.
- The Elder Abuse Unit Deputy works with other county agencies, the Attorney General's Office, and the Fresno Madera Area Agency on Aging (FMAAA) to make certain that the latest developments in the law, policy and investigative techniques are used to arrest and prosecute offenders.