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Spotlighting Elder Abusers | Manipulation, Control and Mistreatment

Spotlighting Elder Abusers | Manipulation, Control and MistreatmentToday Harvey Weinstein, facing criminal sexual abuse charges, turned himself in to the New York Police Department. Weinstein's arrest amid continuing sexual-harassment revelations is an important event. The spotlight on sexual-harassment wrongdoing continues. So, while the national conversation continues on harassment, another form of harassment - elder abuse, financial and physical, also deserves a spotlight. Such abuse is a growing problem in our country. There are more than 50 million Americans who are age 65 and older.

My law practice focuses on estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation. This focus provides me a well-placed platform for learning from my clients, both elders who have been abused and often their heirs choosing to civilly prosecute the abusers. There are many lessons - let me share some.

Elder abusers often abuse alcohol or other substances. This is not the sole cause of abuse and is not always present. There are studies that identify abusers as purposeful and calculating - not simply uncontrolled actors ignited by anger. The abuser knows his victim. He knows what buttons to push. His cumulative abuse may cause self-doubt in the victim and increasing dependence on the abuser. The abused can become barely functional.

Forms of elder abuse include verbal abuse, physical threats, chronic mistreatment, mentally cruel and manipulative demands, controlling behavior, belittlement, and threatened retaliation if the abuse is disclosed. The abuser's actions are generally outside the presence of third parties. Abusers' efforts oftentimes make the elder feel small and unworthy. Abusers, even when caught or called to account, blame others, have a distorted view of the facts and are defensive and in denial. Justification of various sorts are also abuser responses. Expressed claims of ownership, personal entitlement and resentment of others are part and parcel of abuser responses.

We are estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigators. We're not psychologists or psychiatrists. Finding the reasons that abusers perpetrate abuse is not really within the tasks presented to us. Our job is to recover property or money from the abuser. We keep these goals in mind. Abusers have learned how to get their way. Litigation helps to put a stop to this.

Hackard Law represents clients in major cases in California's larger urban areas, including Los Angeles, Sacramento, Alameda and Santa Clara Counties. Call us at 916 313-3030 if you want to share your story.

Spotlighting Elder Abusers | Manipulation, Control and Mistreatment from Hackard Law on Vimeo.

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