How To Report Elder Abuse

There are different elderly abuse hotlines to report elderly abuse, depending on what state you live in. Learning about whom to contact and what information you need on hand to report elder abuse can help you protect yourself and your loved ones.

Lindsey Crossmier, writer for RetireGuide
  • Written by
    Lindsey Crossmier

    Lindsey Crossmier

    Financial Writer

    Lindsey Crossmier is an accomplished writer with experience working for The Florida Review and Bookstar PR. As a financial writer, she covers Medicare, life insurance and dental insurance topics for RetireGuide. Research-based data drives her work.

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  • Edited By
    Savannah Hanson
    Savannah Hanson, financial editor for RetireGuide

    Savannah Hanson

    Senior Financial Editor

    Savannah Hanson is a professional writer and content editor with over 16 years of professional experience across multiple industries. She has ghostwritten for entrepreneurs and industry leaders and been published in mediums such as The Huffington Post, Southern Living and Interior Appeal Magazine.

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  • Reviewed By Bart Astor
  • Published: July 5, 2022
  • Updated: October 10, 2022
  • 7 min read time
  • This page features 8 Cited Research Articles
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APA Crossmier, L. (2022, October 10). How To Report Elder Abuse. RetireGuide.com. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://www.retireguide.com/retirement-life-leisure/senior-safety/elder-abuse/how-to-report-elder-abuse/

MLA Crossmier, Lindsey. "How To Report Elder Abuse." RetireGuide.com, 10 Oct 2022, https://www.retireguide.com/retirement-life-leisure/senior-safety/elder-abuse/how-to-report-elder-abuse/.

Chicago Crossmier, Lindsey. "How To Report Elder Abuse." RetireGuide.com. Last modified October 10, 2022. https://www.retireguide.com/retirement-life-leisure/senior-safety/elder-abuse/how-to-report-elder-abuse/.

Elder Abuse Hotline

If you are in a dangerous or life-threatening abuse situation, dial 911 immediately for help. If your life is not in immediate danger, there are non-emergency hotlines specifically for reporting elder abuse.

Elder abuse call 911
Report Elder Abuse
You can contact the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-372-8311 to report non-life threatening elder abuse. This nationwide option can also connect you with resources to help you get out of an abusive situation.

Unfortunately, elder abuse happens regularly. One in 10 people over age 60 have experienced abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Knowing multiple resources to report elder abuse can best aid you should you find yourself in a difficult situation.

Who Should You Contact To Report Elder Abuse?

If you feel frightened to report the elder abuse yourself, confide in a loved one about your situation and ask them to make a report for you. There are several contact options to report elder abuse.

Eldercare Locator
Report your abuse to the Eldercare Locator by dialing 1-800-677-1116 or by emailing eldercarelocator@n4a.org. This free nationwide service of the U.S. Administration on Aging protects older Americans by connecting them to resources in their area and provides support to caregivers.
Source: USA.gov

Some elder and disability laws vary by state. If you want to report elder abuse to your specific state department, there are other options.

State Resources
The National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) provides a program list with phone numbers and email addresses for reporting elder abuse in each state.
Source: NAPSA

You can contact one of the national hotlines for elder abuse or refer to NAPSA’s state program list with information to report elder abuse to your specific state’s hotline.

What Information Should You Report?

Knowing what information is important to report will save you time and ensure you connect with the correct resources for your situation.

Always provide as much information as possible when reporting elder abuse. Generally, when reporting any type of abuse, you need to report how long the abuse has been occurring and who is committing the abuse. Additional information to report changes depending on the type of elder abuse suffered.

Types of Abuse and Information To Report
Emotional Abuse
Document and report how the emotional abuse has altered your life. This might include becoming increasingly depressed, anxious or isolated.
Financial Exploitation
Report the amount of money taken from you or the specific items stolen. In circumstances involving tampering of legal documents, you’ll need to report what documents were altered and how.
Physical and Sexual Abuse
Report the injuries you have suffered. If possible, include photos of injuries. Keeping documentation on hand, such as hospitalization or doctor’s office records, is also helpful to include in your report.
Neglect, Deprivation and Confinement
These forms of elder abuse likely cause poor hygiene and living conditions. Take photos if possible. Report how long you were confined and what you were deprived of.

It is important — even if you have no proof of abuse or have excess information — to always report your abuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse finds that, for every case of elder abuse reported, 24 cases go unreported. Your health and safety matters. If you suspect you are being taken advantage of or are being neglected, report the abuse along with any information and documentation you have.

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Abuse Victim Information

If you are reporting on behalf of an abuse victim, include the victim’s contact information so the caseworker can follow up for safety reasons. If there is physical abuse, like bruises or broken bones, ‌include details in your report.

The victim’s mental condition should also be noted. In severe cases, mental abuse can lead to suicide. Having this information documented can indicate to a caseworker the time sensitive nature of a case, and whether it’s essential to call 911 instead of waiting.

The victim’s relationship to the abuser is also important. If they live with the abuser, the case will likely be prioritized.

Important Abuse Victim Information To Report
  • Victim’s contact information
  • Victim’s physical and mental condition
  • Victim’s relationship to the abuser

Alleged Perpetrator Information

If possible, provide the alleged perpetrator’s contact information and relationship to the victim in your report. It is not required to have this information to report abuse, but it may be important for the outcome of the case investigation.

While most abusers are family and friends with elder abuse, there are also strangers who abuse older adults. Typically, strangers abuse older adults financially through online scams. It is okay to file a report without knowing much information about your abuser.

Abuse Information

Reporting the type of abuse is crucial to be connected to the right resources. You should also report who else knows about the abuse. Many times, abusers target older adults with memory issues. This can make it difficult to show evidence of the abuse, but having multiple witnesses to back up the abuse can help the case.

Abuse Details To Include
  • Type of abuse
  • Contact information for others who know of the abuse
  • Reporter’s contact information

While having the reporter’s contact information is beneficial, it is not required. Elder abuse information can be reported anonymously.

What Happens When You Report Elder Abuse?

After you report elder abuse, local Adult Protective Services (APS) assigns a caseworker to conduct an investigation. If your caseworker finds your situation violates your state’s elder abuse laws, action may begin within 24 hours of an initial report. Local law enforcement may become involved as necessary.

If no elder abuse law was broken, the caseworker will still work with community agencies and social services to provide assistance. This can include arranging a new housing option for you or the victim or offering medical services, legal services and other protective measures.

Pro Tip
If you’re making a report on the behalf of an older adult, make sure they’re okay with the action. They do have the right to refuse services offered. Some older adults in toxic relationships with their abusers may be too scared to leave. Ensuring they are aware and approving of you reporting the abuse will remove potential roadblocks.

Additional Reporting Resources

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) provides resource links to help with reporting elder abuse and mistreatment. Some are more focused on strictly reporting, while others center on educating the public to recognize signs of abuse and information needed to report elder abuse.

Example OVC Elder Abuse Resources
OVC Directory of Crime Victim Services
This nationwide resource helps non-emergency elder abuse victims connect with services, like legal services or a caseworker to report the abuse.
U.S. Department of Justice: Elder Justice Initiative
This resource focuses on aiding victims of elder abuse with a specific focus on financial abuse.
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
This resource provides legal information and services for older adults and those who suffer from disabilities and can help you confirm whether your abuser has broken any elder laws.
Elder Abuse Forensic Center
Staffed by legal, medical, social service and law enforcement experts, the Center researches and identifies elder abuse to determine the best ways to prosecute abusers.

If you need additional resources for your specific state, the National Center on Elder Abuse provides an interactive map to connect you to each state’s directory of reporting phone numbers, government agencies and state laws.

Last Modified: October 10, 2022

8 Cited Research Articles

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, June 2). Fast Facts: Preventing Elder Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/elderabuse/fastfact.html
  2. Administration for Community Living. (2021, March 5). What If I Suspect Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation? Retrieved from https://acl.gov/programs/protection-and-advocacy-systems/what-if-i-suspect-abuse-neglect-or-exploitation
  3. National Center on Elder Abuse. (n.d.). Research, Statistics, and Data. Retrieved from https://ncea.acl.gov/What-We-Do/Research/Statistics-and-Data.aspx
  4. Official Guide to Government Information and Services. (n.d.). Eldercare Locator. Retrieved from https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies/eldercare-locator
  5. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (n.d.). Responding to Elder Abuse in Florida. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/file/1172281/download
  6. National Adult Protective Services Association. (n.d.). APS Program List. Retrieved from https://www.napsa-now.org/aps-program-list/
  7. National Center on Elder Abuse. (n.d.). State Resources. Retrieved from https://ncea.acl.gov/Resources/State.aspx
  8. U.S. Department of Justice. (n.d.). Find Help or Report Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/find-support-elder-abuse