What is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse refers to any knowing, intentional, or neglectful act by a caregiver
or any other person causing harm or a serious risk of harm to an elder.
Abuse may be:
Physical Abuse – Inflicting or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury
on an elder, or depriving them of a basic need.
Emotional Abuse – Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder
person through verbal or nonverbal acts.
Sexual Abuse – Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elder person.
Exploitation – Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or
assets of an elder.
Neglect – Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter,
health care or protection for an elder person.
Abandonment – The desertion of an elder by
anyone who has assumed the responsibility for
care or custody of that person.
Who is at Risk?
Every year, an estimated 2.1 million seniors are victims of elder abuse and
according to the National Center for Elder Abuse, only one in fourteen cases are
reported to authorities. An elder abuse victim may be your neighbor, friend, or
family member. In a survey, seniors self-reported financial exploitation at a
rate higher than emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect.
While cases of elder abuse can certainly occur in long-term nursing care
facilities, it is important to note, 90% of elder abuse is as a result of a
What Should I Do If I Suspect Elder Abuse?
If you suspect someone is the victim of elder abuse or know an offender, you can
help by reporting the case to Adult Protective Services Adult Abuse Hotline at
Any person can voluntarily report. By law, anyone making an elder abuse report
in good faith has civil and criminal immunity from liability.
Certain professionals are required by law to report suspected elder abuse,
neglect and exploitation of vulnerable or incapacitated adults. Among those
required to report suspected abuse are: doctors, psychologists, dentists, social
service workers and law enforcement personnel and persons with responsibility
for financial affairs like lawyers, accountants, and trustees.
Consequences of Abusing the Elderly
In addition to being subjected to criminal charges, beginning July 1, 2007,
anyone found to have abused, neglected or exploited the elderly at the
conclusion of an administrative hearing may have their names forwarded to a
public registry, which will remain on record for 10 years.
Where Do I Report?
If there is an immediate threat of injury call 911 for assistance.
Reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation should be made to the Adult Protective
Services Hotline at 877.767.2385, local law enforcement agencies or to the
Pinal County Attorney’s Role
Senior citizens represent a large part of Arizona’s population and our Office
aims to improve their quality of life and increase their safety and security by
fighting elder abuse.
Our efforts focus on the enforcement of financial and physical abuse laws, since
senior citizens often fall prey to such crimes. Beyond the enforcement of such
laws, however, we work together with others to protect the elderly from all
types of abuse, through education, prevention, and prosecution of those
neglecting or abusing our seniors.
Links for more information: