To report elder abuse, individuals should call 911 if the victim is in immediate danger. If there is no immediate danger, contact the adult protective services agency in the victim's state of residence, advises the Administration for Community Living, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
To self-report, the victim should tell a doctor; ask a trusted person for help or call the Eldercare helpline at 800-677-1116, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, as of July 2015. The operator can provide contact information for the local adult protective services agency that can help, reports the Administration for Community Living.
The adult protective services worker needs specific details, such as the victim's name and address, living arrangements, medical needs, and the roles and identities of others who may be involved. A social worker typically asks the caller to relate dates and describe personally witnessed incidents of abuse, according to the Administration for Community Living. These and other questions document important details the investigator needs for planning the investigation.
Although a social worker may ask for the caller's name and contact information, most states allow anonymity, explains the Administration for Community Living. Social workers investigate reports of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation and emotional abuse. When a substantiated case of abuse exists, the next step is to initiate strategies for case planning and follow-up.