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If someone is being hurt or is in danger right now, call 911 immediately.

Older adults who experience victimization often have a hard time navigating the criminal justice system and getting the help and services they need. Older individuals may be particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect; domestic or intimate partner violence; property crimes; and financial crimes.

Elder abuse, also known as elder mistreatment, generally refers to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act that causes harm or creates a serious risk of harm to an older person by a family member, caregiver, or other person in a trust relationship. Elder abuse may include abuse that is physical, emotional/psychological (including threats), or sexual; neglect (including abandonment); and financial exploitation.

  • The effects of victimization can be devastating for older victims of crime. The following resources are provided to help bring greater awareness to crimes against elderly individuals. 

Source:  National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA)

Red Flags of Abuse


  • Lack of basic hygiene.
  • Lack of adequate food.
  • Lack of medical aids (glasses, walker, teeth, hearing aid, medications).
  • Lack of clean appropriate clothing.
  • Person with dementia left unsupervised.
  • Bed bound person left without care.
  • Home cluttered, filthy, in disrepair, or having fire & safety hazards.
  • Home without adequate facilities (stove, refrigerator, heat, cooling, working plumbing, and electricity).
  • Untreated pressure “bed” sores.

Financial Abuse

  • Lack of amenities victim could afford.
  • Elder “voluntarily” giving inappropriate financial reimbursement for needed care and companionship.
  • Caregiver has control of elder’s money but is failing to provide for elder’s needs.
  • Caretaker “living off” elder.
  • Elder has signed property transfers (Power of Attorney, new will, etc.) when unable to comprehend the transaction.

Psychological Abuse

  • Caregiver isolates elder (doesn’t let anyone into the home or speak to the elder).
  • Caregiver is verbally aggressive or demeaning, controlling, overly concerned about spending money, or uncaring.

Physical Abuse

  • Inadequately explained fractures, bruises, welts, cuts, sores or burns.

Reporting Suspected Abuse and Neglect

If you believe abuse or neglect may be occurring contact the Department of Human Services office in your area or your local law enforcement. If you are unsure who to contact call 1-800-232-3020 (DHS). Most people call because of concern about the welfare of an individual either in their own home, a relative's home or as a resident of a care facility. You do not have to determine if abuse or neglect actually occurred before you call.