Too often, older adults and people with disabilities are victims of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation.
If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, help is available. NWSDS provides Adult Protective Services (APS) services for seniors and people with physical disabilities in Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Clatsop and Tillamook Counties.
- Investigate reports of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation
- Help arrange services for vulnerable adults, and
- Take steps to hold the abuser accountable.
TO REPORT ABUSE of a senior or an adult with a disability in the NWSDS area, call:
If it is an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
In other Oregon counties, call the Oregon Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-232-3020.
What is adult abuse?
Abuse of older adults aged 65 and older and adults with physical disabilities under the age of 65 can include:
- Physical harm or injury
- Failure to provide basic care
- Financial exploitation
- Verbal/emotional abuse
- Involuntary seclusion
- Wrongful restraint
- Unwanted sexual contact
- Abandonment by the caregiver
In addition, self-neglect is where individuals lack the cognitive ability to care for themselves, which can also lead to harm.
Where does adult abuse occur?
Abuse can happen wherever someone lives, such as a person’s own home or the home of family or friends. It can also occur in a professional care setting such as a nursing facility, a residential care facility, an assisted living facility, an adult foster home, a retirement home or a room-and-board home.
How big a problem is adult abuse?
Each year, the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), local offices of Seniors and People with Disabilities (SPD) and Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) receive more than 20,000 calls of concern and investigate more than 12,000 complaints of adult abuse and self-neglect.
As baby boomers age, the problem will worsen. In 2010, 13 percent of Oregon’s population was 65 or older. In 2030, 20 percent will be 65 or older.
Who should report abuse?
Everyone should report abuse. We all have a responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Oregon law requires mandatory reporting by certain people.
Who is a mandatory reporter?
You are a mandatory reporter for older adults if you are a:
- Naturopathic, osteopathic, podiatric, chiropractic or general physician or surgeon (including an intern or resident)
- Licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, nurse’s aide, home health aide or employee of an in-home health service
- Employee of DHS or OHA, county health department, community mental health, developmental disabilities program or an area agency on aging (AAA)
- Peace officer
- Member of the clergy
- Psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, licensed professional counselor, licensed clinical social worker or licensed marriage and family therapist
- Physical therapist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, audiologist or speech language pathologist
- Information and referral or outreach worker
- Senior center employee
- Firefighter or emergency medical technician
- Adult foster home licensee or an employee of the licensee
- Any public official that comes in contact with older adults in the performance of the official’s duties
Note: All of the above plus legal counsel, guardians and family members are mandatory reporters for any resident in a nursing facility.
What happens after a report of abuse?
An APS worker will contact the reported victim and other involved persons, to determine whether or not abuse or neglect occurred and to help arrange for any needed services. APS workers also work with law enforcement when a potential crime may have occurred.
Will my name be kept confidential if I report abuse?
State law protects the confidentiality of all individuals reporting abuse. The identity of the reporter can only be revealed under specific legal exceptions, such as reporting of a crime or an order by a judge. You are not required to give your name if you wish to remain anonymous.