Elder Abuse Prevention

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse can be in the form of neglect by others or self, physical abuse, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, and/or sexual abuse. The Elder Abuse Prevention program helps prevent elder abuse and exploitation through education of mandatory reporters (see below), caregivers, senior groups and the general population. In addition, the program includes advocacy for laws related to elder abuse.

The exact incidence of elder abuse is difficult to determine because this crime is largely unreported. Many experts agree that 4% of elders age 65 and over in this country are abused or neglected at any given time. Estimates vary, but most studies report that only 1 in 5 to 1 in 14 elder abuse cases are reported to authorities. The majority of abusers are family members.

When should you call for Adult Protective Services?

  • When you think the potential for abuse or neglect could be minimized through professional intervention and supportive services.
  • When you have observed an injury that indicates physical abuse may have occurred.
  • When you observe an incident that reasonably appears to be abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • When you are told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced abuse.

California Law requires employees of health facilities, law enforcement officials, and health and social service workers to report abuse of elders (age 65+) and dependent adults (a person between the ages of 18 and 64 with limitations that restrict obtaining his/her rights). A mandatory report must be filed by the reporter with Adult Protected Services (APS) by telephone within 24 hours, followed by a completed form within 2 days. Mandated reporters are protected from criminal or civil liability for providing this information and are subject to penalty for failure to report.

Who should you call?

If you suspect elder abuse, please report this at:

County of Orange Adult Protective Services (APS) (800) 451-5155 24-HOUR EMERGENCY RESPONSE AVAILABLE