Fear of retaliation, lack of awareness, social isolation, and other factors often pull the elderly from reporting abuse. Hence it is the duty of those who witness such abuse to report the same to the authorities. The adult protection statutes of all states and the District of Columbia include provisions governing the reporting of suspected elder mistreatment. Generally, reports are to be made to the pertinent adult protective services agency. New Jersey, along with Colorado, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin permit reporting but do not require it. In other words, reporting is not mandatory. However, in an effort to increase detection of elder abuse, most states have enacted mandatory reporting laws. Though every individual witnessing elder abuse has a moral or conscientious obligation to report the same, there is no legal obligation. In New Jersey, though voluntary reporting for domestic elder abuse is not prescribed by law; the state operates a voluntary system based on administrative policy. Caregivers, employees at managed-care facilities, loved ones, friends, and neighbors can report elder abuse and the grounds for reporting can include physical evidence of abuse, sudden personality changes in the elderly person, and signs of neglect on the part of the caregiver.
Under New Jersey law, Nursing Home residents are protected by both State and Federal Regulations. New Jersey had its own Nursing Home Bill of Rights which is State Law, N.J.S.A. 30:13-5. This law not only protects residents, but also shifts the costs and attorneys fees to the nursing home if they violated these rights. Under the Nursing Home Resident Rights, there are other rights which are protected such as the right to be free of restraint unless authorized, to live in a safe decent and clean facility and to voice complaints without being threatened, to name a few. Nursing Homes and Rehabilitation Centers have specific legal responsibilities set out under State Statute. Other duties of nursing home authorities include maintaining adequate nutrition for residents, making sure that the premises are safe from physical hazards and provide assistance to the elderly whenever necessary. These obligations are mandatory under the Law.