Recognizing and Reporting Abuse, Neglect and




Every year, tens of thousands of elderly Americans are abused in their own homes, in the homes of relatives and in facilities responsible for their care.

By learning the signs and symptoms of elder abuse and what to do on behalf of an elderly person who is being abused, you’ll be helping someone else while at the same time strengthening your own defenses against elder abuse in the future.


Recognizing Types, Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abuse

Reporting Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation

Physical Abuse: Pushing, striking, slapping, kicking, pinching, restraining, shaking, beating, burning, hitting shoving or other acts that can cause harm to an elder.


Neglect:  Unexpected or unexplained deterioration of health, personal care or living situation. Inadequate food, clothing and / or shelter.


Emotional or Psychological Abuse: Verbal berating, harassment, intimidation, threats of punishment or deprivation, criticism, demeaning comments, coercive behavior or isolation from family and friends


Financial or Material Exploitation: Improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets, cashing checks without permission, forging signatures, coercing or deceiving an older person into signing a document, using an ATM/debit card without permission. 


Sexual Abuse: Nonconsensual sexual contact of any kind including assault or battery,    rape, sodomy, coerced nudity or sexually explicit photographing.


Self-neglect: When individuals fail to provide themselves with whatever is necessary to prevent physical or emotional harm or pain.

Encourage the victim or the person with the most knowledge of the situation to call the Abuse Hotline at 1-800 96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). 

The person calling should provide as much of the following information as possible:

  • Your name and phone number (this information can only be given to law enforcement and the State Attorney and will never be released to the victim or other parties). A report can be made anonymously.
  • Tell the registry counselor why you believe the incident you are reporting constitutes abuse, neglect or exploitation.
  • Tell about a specific incident or a pattern of incidents or circumstances suggesting abuse, neglect or exploitation.
  • Victim’s name, address, location, phone number, social security number, age, race and sex.
  • Brief description of victim’s physical/mental disability/infirmity.
  • Brief description of abuse/neglect/exploitation.
  • Signs of harm or injury.
  • Responsible person and relationship to victim.
  • Names, phone numbers and addresses of witnesses or other sources of information.
  • Give information, as you know it.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of information given to the Hotline counselor.  

If a victim is in imminent danger call 911



Florida Statute 415 Adult Protective Services reads in part:

Anyone who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect that a vulnerable adult has been or is being abused, neglected or exploited shall immediately report such knowledge or suspicion to the 

Abuse Hotline: 1-800-962-2873 (Telephone Device for the Deaf: 1-800-453-5145)

For online reporting go to



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