How do I know if it’s Abuse or Neglect?

Sadly, Elders and Adults at Risk in Ozaukee County encounter various types of abuse, some more obvious than others. Ozaukee County staff investigate hundreds of referrals every year. All types of abuse are harmful and have serious impacts.

• Self-neglect -Failure of the individual at risk to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, supervision, medical, or dental care for him or her self. Self-neglect may be related to a change in a person’s medical needs, physical abilities, cognitive functioning, or even emotional well-being.

• Neglect –A caregiver's failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, supervision, medical or dental care. A caregiver is an involved individual who has responsibility for the care of another. This may be a family member, an agency worker, paid or not paid.

• Financial exploitation - Use of an Elder or Adult-at-Risk's money or property without their knowledge, understanding and/or consent. In the majority of situations, the person using the funds is a trusted individual in the person’s life, such as a family member or friend. Financial exploitation that is allowed to continue limits or even eliminates a person’s options for current or future care needs.

• Emotional abuse – Language or behavior that serves no legitimate purpose and is intended to be intimidating, humiliating, threatening, frightening, or otherwise harassing. Emotional abuse can be difficult to identify but is harmful to a person’s well-being.

• Physical abuse - The willful infliction of physical pain, injury, or unreasonable confinement. Physical abuse impacts an individual both physically and emotionally. As with other types of abuse, physical abuse will likely contribute to a decline in an individual’s health.

• Sexual abuse – Forcing someone to watch or be a part of unwanted or nonconsensual sexual contact. Sexual contact requires informed consent from both parties, regardless of relationship status including marriage.

• Treatment without consent - Forcing medication or treatment on an individual without informed consent from the individual. An individual has the right to know what medications they are taking, and may refuse medications unless there is a court order.

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1. Who is eligible for Adult Protective Services?
2. How do I know if it’s Abuse or Neglect?
3. Should I make a report to APS?
4. How do I make a report to APS?
5. What will APS do after they receive my report?
6. Can APS update me on their response?
7. Link me back to Adults at Risk