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Reporting Elder Abuse in Texas

Signs of Elder Abuse

By law, Texas residents are required to report known or suspicious elder abuse. Texas is home to more than 2.5 million elderly residents, and there are tens of  thousands of  elder abuse cases each year.

If the victim is in a nursing home or assisted living facility, or is in his or her home and relies on a home health provider, call the Texas Department of State Health Services at (800) 458-9858.

If the victim is a resident of a long-term care facility that receives Medicaid funding, report the criminal abuse, neglect or exploitation to the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at (512) 463-2011 (Austin), toll-free at (800) 252-8011 or by e-mail at: mfcu@texasattorneygeneral.gov

Abuse of a senior who is not in a health care facility can be reported to Adult Protective Services at (800) 252-5400.

What is Elder Abuse -

Elder abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Perpetrators include children, other family members, and spouses—as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living, and other facilities.

  • Physical abuse means inflicting physical pain or injury upon an older adult.
  • Sexual abuse means touching, fondling, intercourse, or any other sexual activity with an older adult, when the older adult is unable to understand, unwilling to consent, threatened, or physically forced.
  • Emotional abuse means verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment, or intimidation.
  • Confinement means restraining or isolating an older adult, other than for medical reasons.
  • Passive neglect is a caregiver’s failure to provide an older adult with life’s necessities, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
  • Willful deprivation means denying an older adult medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device, or other physical assistance, and exposing that person to the risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm—except when the older, competent adult has expressed a desire to go without such care.
  • Financial exploitation means the misuse or withholding of an older adult’s resources by another.

Reporting Texas elder abuse

Reporting Elder Abuse -

All Texans have an obligation to report suspicions of  elderly abuse or neglect. The law requires any person who believes that a child, or person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities is  being abused, neglected, or exploited to report the circumstances. A person making a report is immune from civil or criminal liability provided they make the report in good faith, and  the name of the person making the report is kept confidential.

Any person suspecting abuse and not reporting it can be held liable for a misdemeanor or state jail felony. Time frames for investigating reports are based on severity of allegations. Reporting suspected elder abuse makes it  possible for a family to get help. Individuals will have their identity concealed and will not run the risk of facing either civil or criminal liability.

Any Texas resident who knows about elder abuse and decides not to report it will be charged and convicted of a Class B misdemeanor. Texas law forbids anyone from filing a false claim of elder abuse. The Adult Protective Services (APS) is responsible for investigating any claims of elder abuse that take place within a care facility, including private homes.


Elder abuse is considered a felony in Texas, although the circumstances involved determine whether it's a felony in the first, second, or third degree. Elder abusers who willingly cause serious physical harm on a senior citizen will be convicted of a felony in the first degree. A second degree felony occurs when the abuser causes serious physical harm through a reckless act.

You have a right to be safe and protected from abuse. The Office of the Attorney General and the State of Texas are committed to protecting you from verbal, emotional and physical abuse, as well as financial exploitation, whether you are living in your own home, with family or in a long-term care facility.

Abuse includes involuntary seclusion, intimidation, humiliation, harassment, threats of punishment, deprivation, hitting, slapping, pinching, kicking, any type of corporal punishment, sexual assault, sexual coercion, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, or any oral, written, or gestured language that includes disparaging or derogatory terms, regardless of the person's ability to hear or comprehend.

Neglect means the failure of a caretaker to provide the goods or services, including medical services, which are necessary to avoid physical or emotional harm or pain. Exploitation includes a caretaker's illegal use of a senior's resources for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain.

Seniors may need help with their finances, but unless they hand control over to another person, they have the same right as anyone else to receive, spend, invest, save or give away their money. A family member, "friend" or nursing home may not take control of a senior's money without that person's permission.

If you are being abused, or suspect that someone else is being abused, do not remain silent. If you are aware of a specific act of abuse, neglect or exploitation, you are required by law to report it.If the victim is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or your local law enforcement agency.

Source: www.texasattorneygeneral.gov

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