Adult Protective Services (APS)
Each California County has an Adult Protective Services (APS) agency to help elder adults (60 years and older) and dependent adults (18-59 who are disabled), when these adults are unable to meet their own needs, or are victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation. County APS agencies investigate reports of abuse of elders and dependent adults who live in private homes, apartments, hotels or hospitals, or who are, or soon will be, experiencing homelessness.
APS services are available to any elder (60 or older) or dependent adult who is believed to have been a victim of abuse, neglect or exploitation regardless of income at no cost.
To report abuse, call this number 1-833-401-0832 and when prompted enter your 5-digit zip code to be connected to the Adult Protective Services in your county, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
There are many types of abuse. Some of the more common types, with examples, are listed below.
Types of Abuse
- Physical: e.g. Hitting, kicking, burning, dragging, over or under medicating
- Sexual Abuse: e.g. Unwanted sexual contact, sexual exploitation, forced viewing of pornography
- Abandonment: e.g. Desertion or willful forsaking by anyone having responsibility for care
- Isolation: e.g. Preventing the individual from receiving mail, telephone calls, visitors
- Financial: e.g. Theft, misuse of funds or property, extortion, duress, fraud
- Neglect: e.g. Failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, or health care for an individual under one’s care when the means to do so are available.
- Self-neglect: e.g. Failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, or health care for oneself.
- Mental suffering: e.g. Verbal assaults, threats, causing fear.
- Abduction: e.g. Removal from this state and restraint from returning to this state of any elder of dependent adult.
These are some possible warning signs that abuse might be occurring to an older or disabled adult or that the individual is at increased risk for abuse. If you observe some of these occurring with an older or disabled adult you know, consider alerting County Adult Protective Services.
- Explanation for an injury is inconsistent with its possible cause
- Recent changes in the elder or dependent adult’ s thinking; seems confused or disoriented
- The caregiver is angry, indifferent, or aggressive toward the elder or dependent adult
- Personal belongings, papers, or credit cards are missing
- The elder appears hesitant to talk openly
- Lack of necessities, such as food, water, utilities, medications and medical care
- The caregiver has a history of substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior or family violence
- Another person's name added to the client's bank account or important documents, or frequent checks made out to cash
When a report of abuse, neglect or exploitation is received, APS’s goal is to create a stable environment where the individual can safely function without requiring on-going intervention from the APS program. Services provided by APS include responding to reports of known or suspected abuse or neglect, conducting an investigation, and arranging for the delivery of services from available community agencies.
APS is not intended to interfere with the life style choices of elders or dependent adults, nor to protect those individuals from the consequences of their choices. For this reason, an elder or dependent adult who has been abused may refuse or withdraw consent at any time to preventive and remedial services offered by an APS agency.
However, APS is required to conduct an investigation when there is an allegation that a crime has been committed, regardless of whether the elder or dependent adult wants the investigation to go forward or not.
To learn more about one’s rights as an APS client:
PUB 470 - Your Rights Under Adult Protective Services
Benefits to Reporting Abuse
- The elder or dependent adult will be given options to keep him/her safe from harm
- The APS worker can link the client, family to needed community resources
- Unaware family members and 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 individual making the report feels relief that a professional is assessing the situation
Please note that, due to confidentiality laws, APS cannot tell the person reporting the abuse the results of their investigation.
Where to Get Help
If you are in immediate danger, please contact 911
If you want to report elder abuse or dependent adult abuse in the community, contact your local county APS Office. For most types of abuse, County APS programs have 10 days to respond to your report. Abuse reports may also be made to your local law enforcement agency.