Frequently Asked Questions

Skip to Content


Use the following links to quickly jump to the desire location in the page.

You are on this page: Frequently Asked Questions

What is adult abuse?

Adult abuse is the mistreatment of an impaired adult, age 18 or over, who may be dependent on someone else for basic needs. Further explanation can be found on the page Definitions of Adult Abuse, Neglect and Financial Exploitation.

What are some signs of adult abuse?

Some of the signs of abuse taking place are unexplained injuries, sudden decrease of financial resources, and sudden changes in mood or behavior. Further explanation can be found on the Risk Factors and Indicators page..

What can I do to stop adult abuse?

You can report suspected abuse to Adult Protective Services. Reports can be made anonymously, if desired. Contact information is found at the bottom of every page.

What does Adult Protective Services do?

The Adult Protective Services program, provided through local departments of social services, has the legal responsibility to investigate alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation of vulnerable adults, age 18 and over, who live in the community, and to provide services to protect such adult from harm.

What programs are available to assist the elderly and/or other New York adults who are in danger of abuse or exploitation?

Adult Protective Services are available to New Yorkers age 18 or older, living in the community, who due to physical or mental impairment are at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Services include: counseling for the adult and family; arranging for medical and mental health assessments; applying for benefits; coordination with law enforcement and other agencies; finding alternative living arrangements; financial management services; homemaker and housekeeper chore services within specified limits; crisis interventions, such as protective court orders; and long-term legal interventions, such as guardianship.

For more information about Adult Protective Services, homemaker services, personal care aides, or referral to other community services, contact your local Department of Social Services and ask for Adult Protective Services.

How do I make a referral if I believe an adult is at risk of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation?

Call your local Department of Social Services Adult Protective Services, which will investigate reports of adult and elder abuse. See the Contact APS page. If an adult is in danger and needs immediate assistance, you should contact local law enforcement or 911.

What happens when I make a referral? Who responds?

In responding to referrals. APS will visit the adult's home within three working days, or within 24 hours for a life threatening situation. Services will be provided that reduce the risk to the adult and which support the adult’s ability to stay in the community for as long as possible.

What if the vulnerable adult refuses help?

Adults with mental capacity have the right to exercise free choice in deciding whether to accept services. If an adult appears to be capable of understanding the risks and chooses to stay in an abusive or neglectful situation, this can be a difficult decision for others to understand. APS will offer services and try to convince the adult to accept help. If there are questions about the adult’s mental capacity, then a mental health evaluation will be pursued to determine if court-ordered interventions should be provided.