Abuse & Neglect

Adult Protective Services (APS)

Adult Protective Services (APS) receives, identifies and investigates reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation of adults age 18 years or older who are incapacitated or anyone 60 and older. APS workers also provide case management or related services and establish and strengthen family and social support systems to protect adults at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

Making a Report

Anyone can make an APS report. Additionally, any financial institution that suspects an adult customer has been exploited financially may report its concerns to APS.  To report suspected adult abuse, neglect or exploitation:

  • If you witness a life-threatening situation immediately call 911.
  • Call 703-228-1700  or 703-228-1788 (TTY) on weekdays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and ask for the APS duty worker.
  • After business hours, call the state hotline at 1-888-832-3858.

What if you have a “feeling” about a situation but cannot verify details? APS workers are professional social workers trained to handle complex situations. Based on your report, the social worker will assess the situation and determine how best to respond.

By law the  identity of the reporter, as well as the information gathered, is confidential and is not made available to the public. The individual who makes the report is  immune from civil and criminal liability if the report is made in good faith

Mandated Reporters

Anyone can make an APS report, however mandated reporters are required by law to immediately report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of older adults or persons with disabilities. Mandated reporters include:

  • Law enforcement officers
  • Mental health professionals
  • Social workers
  • Persons providing full-time or part-time care to adults for pay on a regular basis
  • Persons who are employed by a public or private agency or facility and work with adults
  • Physicians, including hospital residents and interns
  • Any person licensed, certified, or registered by health regulatory boards listed in §54.1-2503 of the Virginia Code, except persons licensed by the Board of Veterinary Medicine
  • Any guardian or conservator of an adult
  • Any emergency medical services personnel certified by the Board of Health pursuant to §32.1-111.5 of the Virginia Code

Some situations must be immediately reported to both APS and local law enforcement. These situations are sexual abuse, death, serious bodily injury or disease believed to be caused by abuse or neglect, and any criminal activity involving abuse or neglect that places the adult in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.  Visit the Virginia Department of Social Services website for a web-based training course: Mandated Reporters for Adult Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation.

Failure of a mandated reporter to make a report is punishable by a civil monetary penalty. Adult Protective Services also refers matters as necessary to the appropriate licensing, regulatory or legal authority for administrative action or criminal investigation.