Elder abuse in Central Texas

During the last year, there were nearly 4,000 confirmed cases of elder abuse in Central Texas.

Elder abuse happens more than you might imagine. In Texas, there were 1,200 victims in October.

Eva Malone, a Specialist 5 with Adult Protective Services, has a daunting task. She looks into high profiles case of elder abuse.

Along with physical and emotional abuse by others, Malone says, “We actually have clients that will get in situations where they are neglecting themselves.”

They’re victims who many times suffer in silence.

“A lot of people don't want to believe that someone would harm grandma or grandpa so that's also probably a reason that it's going unreported,” Malone says.

In fact a lot of cases are believed to go unreported across the state. The tragedies happen in neighborhoods you probably least expect and where often times Malone isn’t a welcome visitor.

“They have the right to refuse our investigations,” Malone says.

FOX 7 went with Malone when she went to investigate a client who is allegedly the victim of financial exploitation by a family member.

While some may remain silent, the 90-year-old client is fighting back and telling her story to Malone.

Unfortunately, like so many others, the woman may never get justice in a court room.

Malone says, “We can see a crime took place but maybe it doesn't meet the definition of criminal code.”

It’s a difficult situation for the innocent family members trying to protect their loved ones.

“Coming from an APS standpoint we like to see the least restrictive alternative,” Malone says.

Even if she helps just one person, Malone says it may just be worth it.

If you suspect an elderly person is being abused or neglected in their home you can call the state’s abuse hotline at 1-800-252-5400. More information can be found on their website here.

If you believe someone is being abused at a long-term care facility, the Texas Attorney General's Office wants to know about it. You can call their office toll free 1-800-252-8011.