Yes, most states allow people to remain anonymous when reporting elder abuse to Adult Protective Services and emergency services. Even if you cannot file an anonymous report, states may offer protections for reporting abuse.
As many as 5 million older adults are abused in the U.S. each year, according to the National Council on Aging.
It is crucial that witnesses report abuse immediately, as failing to report elder abuse can have serious, life-threatening consequences. Learn more about reporting elder abuse anonymously below.
Why Might Someone Want To Report Elder Abuse Anonymously?
There are plenty of reasons why someone might want to report elder abuse anonymously.
Some of these reasons include the following.
Fear of Retaliation
People who report elder abuse might be afraid of abusers or others punishing them for speaking out. There have been cases of abusers who have reacted with violence after being reported to law enforcement officials.
Within nursing homes, many residents do not speak out about nursing home abuse as they may be afraid that the staff will isolate or threaten them.
A nursing home or medical facility employee may want to stay anonymous because going public could put their job at risk.
However, many states have “whistleblower protection” laws, which safeguard individuals who report abuse, and provide resources and support against potential retaliation, whether the report is made anonymously or not.
Those suffering from elder abuse and neglect may feel ashamed, making it difficult for them to talk about it. Family members or caregivers may also want to stay out of the public eye.
These feelings may cause an individual to not want to report at all. Reporting anonymously might help alleviate this issue.
Where Can You Report Elder Abuse Anonymously?
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.
You can report elder abuse anonymously in many ways, including:
- In person: Certain advocacy agencies allow in-person reporting. Check with local agencies to see if you can report in person.
- Online: Some law enforcement agencies allow you to submit online tips, which can be sent anonymously and assessed for credibility before being investigated.
- 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.
If your loved one experienced abuse, reporting to law enforcement and other advocacy agencies may not feel like enough. The Nursing Home Abuse Center may be able to connect you with legal options. Contact us now to see how we can help.
When Can You Report Elder Abuse Anonymously?
If a loved one is suffering from elder abuse, you should report it immediately. If they live in a long-term care or assisted living facility, you will likely have several options for reporting nursing home abuse.
The sooner you report elder abuse, the faster protective action can be taken for those suffering. You may or may not be able to anonymously file a report, but taking the first step to report suspected elder abuse may prevent serious injury or illness.
You could also be saving someone’s life and preventing an abuser from continuing their behavior.
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, like a nursing home ombudsman, or local law enforcement for help in taking the next steps.
If your loved one has suffered from abuse and you want to seek other avenues of justice, the Nursing Home Abuse Center may be able to help.