adult protective services - frequently asked questions

What is an Adult Protective Services Unit?

In 1985, Adult Protective Services (APS) units were established throughout Indiana to investigate reports of abuse such as battery, neglect, self-neglect, financial or sexual exploitation and to assist in obtaining services for endangered adults.

What is an endangered adult?

As defined by Indiana Statute, any individual over 18 years of age who is incapable by reason of mental illness, dementia, or other physical or mental incapacity of managing or directing the management of the individual's property or providing or directing the provision of self-care; and is harmed or threatened with harm as a result of battery, neglect or exploitation of the person’s personal services, property or both.

What is the goal of APS? 

The goal is to help endangered adults to live as independently as possible in the least restrictive environment, free from physical, emotional and financial abuse or the threat of abuse.

What kinds of things can APS do to help?

The Investigator will receive and investigate reports of abuse and will assist in utilizing available legal, medical, psychiatric, residential and social services that are necessary to protect the health and safety of an endangered adult.  The Investigator will also assist in obtaining protective services for the endangered adult when appropriately indicated.

Am I required to report suspected abuse?

An individual who believes or has reason to believe that an individual is an endangered adult and is the victim of battery, neglect or exploitation is required by law to make a report to APS, law enforcement or the Hotline.  This includes any member of the staff of a medical or other public or private institution.  Failure to report is a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail or a $1,000 fine.

What information do I report?

Report as much information as you have available.  You will need to provide the name, age and address of the endangered adult.  The same information is needed of family members or other persons financially responsible for the endangered adult’s care or other individuals who may be able to provide relevant information.  Report the apparent nature and extent of the alleged battery, neglect or exploitation and the endangered adult’s physical and mental condition.  Also, include the name, address and telephone of the reporter and the basis of the reporter’s knowledge and any other relevant information regarding the circumstances of the endangered adult.

Even if you do not have all the information above, a report still must be made.

What are the “red flags” or common signs of abuse?

Obvious physical injuries, bruises or untreated medical problems.  Signs of neglect include poor hygiene, malnutrition, withdrawal from society, extreme isolation, frequent hospital visits, misuse of alcohol or drugs by the caregiver or the victim, reluctance or refusal to explain injuries by the victim or caregiver, conflict in caregiver’s report of an accident, unusual fear or defensiveness of the older adult in the presence of a caregiver, a history of abuse in the family, situations that would cause a caregiver extreme stress, changes in financial management routines such as other people accessing bank accounts or cashing checks, or changes in living conditions.  Victim’s reports of mistreatment should always be taken seriously; they may be an accurate portrayal of what they are experiencing or they might be symptoms of delusions. 

Where & how do I report? 

All reports of known or suspected abuse of endangered adults shall be communicated immediately to the Adult Protective Services Unit, (260) 449-7989 or a law enforcement agency or to the department by telephone on the HOTLINE at (800) 992-6978.