Reporting Abuse of the elderly or disabled

Step One: Reflect

Take a minute to write down the details to make sure you are able to give the reporting hotline as much information as possible. As a reminder, you do not need proof of sexual abuse to make a “good faith” report.

When you call to report, consider these pieces of information:

  1. identity and location

  2. age of the victim

  3. jurisdiction

  4. person(s) legally responsible (if applicable) and their phone numbers

  5. allegation of abuse or neglect

It would be helpful to disclose specific details of the abuse if you have them, or why you suspect abuse. It is important to disclose any information on the dates of abuse. Disclose if you believe anyone else may have information of the abuse.

Step Two: Call the hotline

To report abuse, call the mandated reporting line for your state as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours. If the abuse happened out of the state, or the perpetrator now lives in another state, you may have to report the abuse in that state. The reporting hotline may send you a form to fill out after the phone call.

Immediately let the hotline know the emergency nature of the report and whether the victim is in imminent danger. If you do not have the information that they are asking, it is okay to say “I don’t know.”

As a reporter, you may not be aware of actions after you make this call, and make the report. Although the process may vary slightly in each state, below is a summary. Click here for even more information on what happens after you call.

Step three: Screening

The details provided are screened by a trained professional to evaluate if it meets the requirements in the state and/or municipality receiving the report. Here is where the information can be found about what constitutes abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Step four: aps initiates Face-to-Face meeting

If the situation meets the criteria for one of the above, the Adult Protective Services (APS) worker will initiate face-to-face contact with the adult needing assistance. Individuals always have the right to decline services.

Step five: assessment

The APS worker will asses the adult’s safety, and need for assistance. They will determine what services, if any, would benefit the individual, while also maintaining his/her well-being and independence. Learn about the services provided by APS here.

After the report

The reporting process may be hard for some, and can even bring up memories of past trauma. As you go through the process, make sure you are practicing self care, and seek a professional mental health expert if needed

We are not lawyers, and the information on this website does not constitute legal advice. We encourage you to contact a lawyer to discuss your complaint or suit.