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Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Awareness

Here in California, Adult Protective Services (APS) receives more than 15,000 reports of elder and dependent adult abuse per month, and reports are increasing.  There are an estimated 184,500 cases of reported elder and dependent adult abuse PER YEAR in California. Elder abuse is significantly underreported. For every case known to programs and agencies, 24 are unknown. For financial abuse, only one in 44 cases is known.

Elder adults are anyone that is age 65 or older. APS also provides services to Dependent Adults, who are persons between the age of 18 and 64, who have physical or mental limitations which restrict their ability to carry out normal daily activities or to protect his/her own rights.


The State of California Recognizes Eight Types of Abuse:

  1. Self-Neglect – Refusal or failure to provide himself/herself with adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medication (when indicated), and safety precaution.
  2. Physical Abuse – The use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment; or any physical injury to an adult caused by other than accidental means.
  3. Neglect by Others – Failure to provide the basic care, or services necessary to maintain the health and safety of an adult: this failure can be active or passive.
  4. Sexual Abuse – Sexual contact with a non-consenting adult or with an adult considered incapable of consenting to a sexual act.
  5. Financial Abuse – The illegal or unethical exploitation and/or use of an elder’s funds, property, or other assets.
  6. Mental Abuse – Verbal or emotional abuse includes threatening significant physical harm or threatening or causing significant emotional harm to an adult through the use of: Derogatory or inappropriate names, insults, verbal assaults, profanity, or ridicule; or harassment, coercion, threats, intimidation, humiliation, mental cruelty, or inappropriate sexual comments.
  7. Abandonment – the desertion or willful forsaking by anyone having responsibility for care.
  8. Isolation – Preventing the individual from receiving mail, telephone calls, or visitors.

Abuse doesn't happen in a vacuum. Often one type of abuse leads to another. Victims often suffer from multiple forms of abuse at the hands of their abusers. For example an older adult can be neglected by his or her family, whose only interest is control over the person's financial assets.


How to report cases of abuse, whether it is on your own behalf or that of someone you know:

Adult Protective Services - Adult Protective Services (APS) responds to reports from individuals, concerned citizens, social service and health providers, and law enforcement representatives about developmental disabled adults, physically and mentally disabled adults, and the elderly who may be physically or financially abused, neglected, or exploited. Upon receipt of a referral, APS sends a social worker to make a home visit or contact the elder or dependent adult. Trinity County APS Hotline: 530-623-1314.

California State Long-Term Care Ombudsman - The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) investigates elder abuse complaints in long-term care facilities and in residential care facilities for the elderly. The primary responsibility of the program is to investigate and endeavor to resolve complaints made by, or on behalf of, individual residents in these facilities, including nursing homes, residential care facilities for the elderly, and assisted living facilities. The goal of the program is to advocate for the rights of all residents in long term care facilities. The State CRISISline number: 800-231-4024.


Adult victims of alleged abuse and neglect, unlike in Child Protective Service, have a right to decline services even if those services may help resolve an abusive situation. As is common in domestic violence cases, clients are often reluctant to report abuse; denying allegations, recanting previous statements, and making it difficult to provide services or to prosecute crimes. There are many reasons why one might not want to confirm abuse: fear of retaliation, embarrassment/shame, unwillingness to recognize what's happening, protection of the perpetrator who is often a loved one or family member, belief abuse is deserved, not wanting the government involved in family matters, or fear of losing independence or institutionalization if abuse is discovered.

Regardless of whether or not you are a mandated reporter, it is important to report ALL suspected abuse. Even if the elder or dependent adult is reluctant or unwilling to disclose abuse, the investigating agency can provide the message that people care and help is available.

To report Elder or Dependent Adult abuse in Trinity County
call 530-623-1314 or click below