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Adult Protective Services (APS)
Adult Protective Services (APS) serves adults 60 and older and dependent adults 18 and older, who are harmed, or threatened with harm, to ensure their right to safety and dignity. APS investigates elder and dependent adult abuse, including cases of neglect and abandonment, as well as physical, sexual and financial abuse.
APS investigates reports of elder and dependent adult abuse. There are many types of abuse that can occur. Some of the more common types of abuse include:
- Physical: Direct beatings, lack of medical care or overmedication, sexual exploitation
- Abandonment: Desertion or willful forsaking by anyone having responsibility for care
- Isolation: Preventing a dependent adult from receiving mail, telephone calls, visitors
- Financial: Theft, misuse of funds or property, extortion, duress, fraud
- Neglect: Denial of food, clothing, shelter, health care, or unable to provide basic needs
- Self-neglect: Malnutrition, being unkempt, unmet medical needs, unpaid bills
- Mental suffering: Verbal assaults, threats, fear
Warning Signs of Abuse
The following items are possible warning signs that abuse might be occurring to an older or disabled adult. If you observe some or all of these occurring with an older or disabled adult you know, consider alerting Adult Protective Services.
- Injury that is inconsistent with the explanation for its cause
- The elder or dependent adult has recently become confused or disoriented
- The caregiver shows anger, indifference, aggressive behavior toward the person
- Personal belongings, papers, credit cards are missing
- Hesitation from the elder to talk openly
- The caregiver has a history of substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior or family violence
- Lack of necessities, such as food, water, utilities, medications and medical care
- Another person's name added to the client's bank account or important documents, or frequent checks made out to CASH
Benefits to Reporting Abuse
- The elder or dependent adult will be given options to increase their safety
- The APS worker can link the client, family to needed community resources
- Unaware family members, friends can be alerted to step in to help
- The APS worker can find ways to help the caregiver handle stress
- In some cases, the abuse perpetrator can be prosecuted, lessening the harm to others
- The reporter feels relief that a professional is assessing the situation
Contact APS if you observe, suspect, or have knowledge of physical abuse, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, neglect by others or neglect by self. Anyone can report abuse to APS, not just mandated reporters.
- Call 911 if a life-threatening situation is in progress
- To make a report of elder or dependent adult abuse, call 800-339-4661
- Mandated reporters can use an online system to make a report at www.AISWebReferral.org.
What happens after a report is made?
A social services professional will review the report. If appropriate, the reporter will be contacted after an APS worker has been assigned to the case.
Who are mandated reporters?
Mandated reporters include any person who has assumed full or partial responsibility for the needs or care of an elder or dependent adult.
Mandated reporters include:
- Health practitioners
- Law enforcement and emergency response personnel
- Employees of financial institutions
- The clergy
- Public social service employees
- Any other elder or dependent adult care custodian
How is a referral made?
Mandated reporters are encouraged to use the online system to make a referral: www.AISWebReferral.org.
Elder Abuse and Mandated Reporter Trainings
In-Person Elder Abuse/Mandated Reporter Training for Groups
For an in-depth look at San Diego-specific elder information, contact AIS to schedule a no-cost elder abuse and/or mandated reporter training. Presentations can be tailored to meet the needs of professionals or older adults and are offered to groups of 10 or more. For more information or to schedule a training, contact our Outreach & Education team at (858) 505-6332.
Online Mandated Reporter Training
For individuals requiring mandated reporter training or professionals seeking information on elder abuse, the California Department of Social Services offers a free online training program. To access the training, visit Mandated Reporting - Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse and Neglect in California.
For more information or to make a report of elder or dependent adult abuse, please call 800-339-4661