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Are Hidden Cameras the Answer to Ending Elder Abuse in Wisconsin?

Posted on in Appleton Personal Injury Attorney

Appleton elder abuse lawyers

Nursing homes or in-home caregivers are good options for many elderly people. Some need professional-level assistance, while others do not have family members who can help them. Unfortunately, elder abuse by such caregivers is extremely common and is on the rise. According to CBS 58 News, Wisconsin counties reported 7, 019 abuse complaints in 2016, and this number was 21% higher than the figures from three years prior. The numbers are staggering, revealing that this problem will not easily disappear. Like many other states, Wisconsin has taken active steps to try to address the risks faced by its elderly population.

A Means of Protection or an Invasion of Privacy?

In 2018, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) decided to take action against those who are subjecting older individuals to abuse, and the Safe Seniors Camera Program was created. This program is intended to help concerned loved ones witness and record any abuse that may be happening. The DOJ will provide approved applicants with government-owned cameras and memory cards to place in their loved one’s home. Each camera and memory card is lent for up to 30 days to give each individual a significant amount of time with the equipment. Those who sign the contract are required to save all recordings on a daily basis and contact local law enforcement with any footage that may show illegal actions.

Due to privacy rights, only six states allow for surveillance within nursing homes, and New Jersey is the only other state with a program similar to Wisconsin’s. However, there are still privacy regulations that exist with the Safe Seniors Camera Program. Cameras cannot be placed in bathrooms or in the caregiver’s bedroom, and audio recordings are illegal.

 What Types of Abuse Should I Look For?

As with any individual, elder abuse comes in many forms and is not solely restricted to physical harm. This abuse can also include sexual and emotional abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Elder abuse can negatively impact an individual’s physical, psychological, financial, and social well-being. Most forms of elder abuse involve physical altercations of some sort, and an individual’s age and health can keep them from healing properly. Financial exploitation is almost impossible to recover from as an adult who no longer works, and it can be difficult to heal from psychological or emotional trauma, regardless of one’s age.

 Call a Green Bay Personal Injury Attorney for Help

One of the most difficult news to hear is that your loved one is suffering, especially when you have entrusted another person to care for their health and safety. Despite caregiving being their primary job, many nursing homes or in-home providers either purposely harm elderly people or fail to do their job and fully meet a person’s needs. At Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd., we take it upon ourselves to represent those who cannot defend themselves, and we make each client our priority. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering at the hands of a caregiver or nursing home, contact our Appleton, WI personal injury attorneys at 800-559-7366 to schedule a free consultation.

 Sources:

https://www.apa.org/pi/prevent-violence/resources/elder-abuse

https://ncea.acl.gov/What-We-Do/Research/Statistics-and-Data.aspx

https://www.doj.state.wi.us/dci/safe-seniors

https://www.cbs58.com/news/wisconsin-loaning-out-secret-cameras-to-document-possible-elder-abuse

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