Abuse & Neglect

How do I make a report to Adult Protective Services?

To report suspected adult abuse, neglect or exploitation:

  • If you witness a life-threatening situation immediately call 911.
  • Call 703-228-1700  or 703-228-1788 (TTY) on weekdays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Ask for the Adult Protective Services (APS) duty worker.
  • After business hours, call the state hotline at 1-888-832-3858.

What if you have a “feeling” about a situation but cannot verify details? APS workers are professional social workers trained to handle complex situations. Based on your report, the social worker will assess the situation and determine how best to respond.

Who can make an APS report?

Anyone can make an APS report. Additionally, any financial institution that suspects an adult customer has been exploited financially may report its concerns to APS.

How am I protected if I make a report?

Individuals reporting suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation are protected in two ways:

  • Immunity from civil and criminal liability if the report is made in good faith
  • Identity of the reporter, as well as the information gathered, is by law confidential and is not made available to the public

Who are mandated reporters?

Anyone can make an APS report, however mandated reporters are required by law to report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of older adults or persons with disabilities immediately to APS. Visit the Virginia Department of Social Services website for a web-based training course: Mandated Reporters for Adult Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation.

Some situations must be immediately reported to both APS and local law enforcement: sexual abuse, death, serious bodily injury or disease believed to be caused by abuse or neglect, and any criminal activity involving abuse or neglect that places the adult in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.

Mandated reporters include:

  • Law enforcement officers
  • Mental health professionals
  • Social workers
  • Persons providing full-time or part-time care to adults for pay on a regular basis
  • Persons who are employed by a public or private agency or facility and work with adults
  • Physicians, including hospital residents and interns
  • Any person licensed, certified, or registered by health regulatory boards listed in §54.1-2503 of the Virginia Code, except persons licensed by the Board of Veterinary Medicine
  • Any guardian or conservator of an adult
  • Any emergency medical services personnel certified by the Board of Health pursuant to §32.1-111.5 of the Virginia Code

Failure of a mandated reporter to make a report is punishable by a civil monetary penalty. Adult Protective Services also refers matters as necessary to the appropriate licensing, regulatory or legal authority for administrative action or criminal investigation.