Although elder abuse laws vary from state to state, many states allow you to report elder abuse anonymously. Even if you cannot file an anonymous report, it is still important to report the abuse. Failing to report elder abuse can have serious, life-threatening consequences.
Filing Anonymous Elder Abuse Reports
The question of whether or not you can file an anonymous elder abuse report depends on the state.
In some cases, it may be possible to file an anonymous elder abuse report, but it depends on the laws that affect reporting in your state. Many, but not all, states have ways that you can report elder abuse anonymously.
Having the ability to anonymously report elder abuse is very helpful — but remember that reporting, in general, is a good idea. Don’t wait to report elder abuse or neglect, as it can have life-threatening consequences. Failing to report can lead to serious injury or even death for seniors who are at risk.
If you want to report anonymously, check with your state’s related laws to make sure that option is available to you first. A local law enforcement office also may be able to tell you if you are able to report anonymously.
Why Might Someone Want To Report Elder Abuse Anonymously?
There are plenty of valid reasons why someone might want to report elder abuse anonymously.
- Avoid retaliation: People that report elder abuse might be afraid of retaliation from abusers. There have been cases of abusers who have reacted with violence after being reported to law enforcement officials. Some states have laws written to protect those that report abuse.
- Reduce embarrassment: Those suffering from elder abuse and neglect may feel shame or embarrassment, and this is perfectly normal. Family members or caregivers may also want to stay out of the public eye. These feelings may cause an individual to want to report anonymously.
- Professional reasons: A nursing home or medical facility employee may want to stay anonymous because going public could endanger their job.
Where Can You Report Elder Abuse Anonymously?
You can report elder abuse anonymously in a number of different ways:
- Over the phone: You can often report anonymously over the phone to Adult Protective Services (APS) or other law enforcement agencies who can investigate your claim.
- By fax: You’ll likely need to fill out the appropriate forms, but you can often report anonymously via fax with agencies such as APS.
- Online: Some law enforcement agencies allow you to make online tips, which can be sent anonymously and then assessed for credibility before being investigated.
- In-person: Certain advocacy agencies allow in-person reporting. Check with local agencies to see if you can report in-person.
When Can You Report Elder Abuse Anonymously?
If you or a loved one is suffering from elder abuse, you should report it immediately, whether or not you can do so anonymously.
The sooner that elder abuse is reported, the sooner action can be taken to protect older adults that could be suffering. As previously mentioned, you may or may not be able to anonymously file a report — but regardless, taking the step to report suspected elder abuse may save a life or prevent serious injury or illness.
Reporting anonymously has a number of benefits that you may want to take advantage of. You may want to be able to report without the fear of repercussions, personally or professionally. You may want to report without fear of embarrassment.
While these are all valid reasons for wanting to report anonymously, you should make sure that you report elder abuse even if you have to do so publicly. You could be saving someone’s life and preventing an abuser from continuing their behavior in the future.
Learn More About Elder Abuse And How To Report It
Reporting suspected elder abuse isn’t easy. If you need help, you can contact an advocacy agency or local law enforcement for help on taking the next steps.
You can also contact our team of dedicated Patient Advocates to get a free case review. This will allow you to learn about your legal options if elder abuse or neglect took place. You may be eligible to access financial compensation through a lawsuit to help pay for medical and living expenses after the abuse has occurred.