Reporting Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is a serious problem. In general, elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable older adult. Physical abuse; neglect; emotional or psychological abuse; verbal abuse and threats; financial abuse and exploitation; sexual abuse; and abandonment are considered forms of elder abuse. In many states, self‐neglect is also considered mistreatment.

Elder Abuse Prevention Programs are available around the country to investigate and intervene when allegations of abuse are reported.

How do I report elder abuse or abuse of an older person or senior?

Call the police or 9-1-1 immediately if someone you know is in immediate, life-threatening danger.

If the danger is not immediate, but you suspect that abuse has occurred or is occurring, please tell someone. Relay your concerns to the local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman, or the police.

If you have been the victim of abuse, exploitation, or neglect, you are not alone. Many people care and can help. Please tell your doctor, a friend, or a family member you trust, or call the Eldercare Locator help line immediately.

You can reach the Eldercare Locator by telephone at 1-800-677-1116. Specially trained operators will refer you to a local agency that can help. The Eldercare Locator is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

The laws in most states require helping professions in the front lines -- such as doctors and home health providers -- to report suspected abuse or neglect. These professionals are called mandated reporters. Under the laws of eight states, "any person" is required to report a suspicion of mistreatment.

Important Links

National Center on Elder Abuse Listing of State Elder Abuse Hotlines
Eldercare Locator: Community Assistance for Seniors