What happens when elder abuse/neglect is reported?
Upon receiving a report of abuse, material abuse, neglect or self-neglect, the Adult Protective Services, Elder Abuse/Neglect unit will conduct an investigation of the reported abuse. The initial goal of an investigation is to verify the safety of the elder person and to inform them of their rights under the state elder abuse laws. The scope of the investigation may include the following:
- A visit to the elder person’s residence.
- Observation of the elder person.
- An interview with the elder person. To the extent possible, this interview shall be private.
- An interview with other individuals who are aware of the elder person and the situation. (The nature of an individual’s relationship to the elder person is considered before contacting them.)
- A review of treatment and health care records.
Once the initial goal is met, the Elder Abuse/Neglect Unit or another agency specializing in services to older adults may work with the individual(s) to identify additional resources that may be of assistance.
Important things to know about reporting.
- Given the sensitive nature of abuse situations and the impact a report has on families and individuals, the Elder Abuse investigator attempts to establish communications in the least intrusive manner possible.
- The reporter of elder abuse/neglect can request to remain anonymous and Wisconsin law, Chapter 46.90, protects their identity.
- The elder person who is the subject of the abuse/neglect report may refuse the investigation or services. If the elder person is competent and refuses the investigation, the investigation ceases. (Competence refers to an individual’s capacity to make informed decisions and does not refer to the quality of the decisions being made.)
- A commitment to protecting the elder person’s right of self-determination is the guiding principal during the investigation process.