Men and women of all ages can be victims of abuse and neglect at the hands of either loved ones or strangers while in the care of a facility or institution. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that elder abuse is on the rise, with one in 10 elderly Americans (aged 60 and over) suffering abuse at the hands of a caregiver or family member who should not have access to them in a facility. Abuse and neglect can also extend to children. According to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), “In 2015, there were an estimated 3.4 million children who were the subjects of at least one report of abuse and neglect.” Unfortunately, the ACF goes on to say that this number is also on the rise.
We have taken on cases to help those abused and neglected by facilities that were supposed to care for them. Whatever the form of abuse and neglect, you do not deserve it. Tommy James has successfully litigated dozens of institutional abuse and neglect cases across the State of Alabama since he started practicing law over 20 years ago.
Is There a Difference Between Abuse & Neglect?
While both refer to the emotional and/or physical mistreatment of one or more people, there is a key difference between abuse and neglect: Action vs. inaction.
Verbal and other forms of emotional abuse are just as detrimental to a person as physical abuse. Sadly, a victim of abuse often suffers both physical and emotional abuse. Both are considered maltreatment and are punishable by law should the abused victim pursue legal action. Examples of emotional abuse include jabs at a person’s self-esteem, insults, and other verbal assaults that are meant to tear a person down. An abuser usually displays abusive behavior in a private setting, often “putting on airs” when around friends and family members. For this reason, it can be hard to tell if someone you know is suffering from abuse. Additionally, many abusers only physically injure their victims in places that are easily hidden. If the marks of abuse are apparent, it is not uncommon for a victim to try and cover up the abuse in any way possible (with clothing and makeup, for example). More often than not, people with abusive personalities want to control and will try to exercise that control in a violent way — whether verbally or physically — when they feel threatened. For these reasons and more, it is often left to the abused victim to seek help.
As opposed to abuse, neglect occurs when a person fails to properly take care of another person. A child, elderly family member, or disabled spouse will need help doing certain things that are vital to a person’s health and survival such as eating, using the bathroom, and washing. When a person who is otherwise unable to take care of themselves is neglected, serious health problems can occur. For example, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, “researchers found that at some point during the three years following a maltreatment investigation, 28% of children had a chronic health condition.” Whether the victim is young or old, by simply doing nothing, abusers are harming their victims in detrimental, long-lasting ways.
In summation, abuse is the physical or emotional mistreatment of an individual, while neglect is when an individual (or group) fails to provide a standard amount of care that another person requires. Regardless of the type of abuse or neglect, it is illegal to harm another person in any way, and abusers (and/or their enabling organizations or employers) need to be held accountable. Tommy James Law understands that confronting your abuser is a terrifying thought, but know that when you work with Tommy, he will do everything within the legal system’s power to protect you.
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No one deserves to be abused and neglected by caretakers, employees of institutions, or other individuals. It is against the law, and you may be able to hold abusers and the institutions that enable them monetarily responsible for their actions. While it can be an intimidating thought to confront your abuser, know that there are people who can help and protect you along the way to your safe recovery.
Tommy James Law knows how to help institutional abuse and neglect victims. For years, Tommy has successfully represented fellow citizens of Alabama who have suffered maltreatment. Tommy offers free consultations, so you have the opportunity to sit down with him and talk about your case in detail.
Contact us online or call (205) 843-5086 to schedule a consultation today.