Elder Abuse

Elder abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of an older adult.

Responding to Elder Abuse

In cases of immediate danger, call 911.

Otherwise, you can call Adult Protective Services at 1-800-564-1612 to make a report.

For more information or to make a report online, visit: https://dlp.vermont.gov/aps/make-aps-report

Finding Help Guide

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of an older adult. Abusers are both women and men. In almost 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member. Two thirds of perpetrators are adult children or spouses.

  • Physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment: Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, burns.
  • Financial abuse: Sudden changes in financial situations.
  • Neglect: Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, unusual weight loss.
  • Verbal or emotional abuse: Belittling, threats, or other uses of power and control by individuals.
  • Sexual abuse: Touching, fondling, intercourse, or any other sexual activity with an older adult, when the older adult is unable to understand, consent, or is threatened or physically forced.

Who is at Risk?

Elder abuse affects older people across all socioeconomic groups, cultures, and races. It can occur anywhere: in the home, in nursing homes, or in other institutions.

What Should I do if I Suspect Elder Abuse?

Report your concerns by calling Adult Protective Services at 1-800-564-1612 or click here to make a report online. Remember: Most cases of elder abuse go undetected. Don't assume that someone has already reported a suspicious situation.

Download the Finding Help Guide

What Can I Do to Protect Myself, My Friends, and My Neighbors?

Plan! Talk with family members, friends, and professionals who you trust, and plan for your future.

Be cautious! Unscrupulous people target older persons and will abuse or take advantage of them.

Stay connected! Keep in touch regularly with others. Isolation can make you vulnerable to abuse.

Report! Making a report in instances of abuse or neglect is the right thing to do, and it's easy. Don't be afraid. Older adults have a right to be safe.

Legal Aid

Vermont Legal Aid can assist with filing Relief from Abuse Petitions, housing and benefits issues as well as many other legal issues. The Senior Law Project of Vermont Legal Aid focuses on the legal needs of older adults. Disability Rights Vermont provides a broad range of advocacy and litigation services for people with disabilities of all ages. 


Spotting the Signs of Elder Abuse Infographic