Under the Elder Justice Act When Do You Have to Report

Under the Elder Justice Act: When Do You Have to Report?


The Elder Justice Act (EJA) is a crucial piece of legislation enacted to protect vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It was signed into law in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act, and it seeks to ensure that the rights and well-being of older individuals are safeguarded. One of the key aspects of the Elder Justice Act is the obligation to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect. In this article, we will explore when you are required to report under the Elder Justice Act and provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding reporting obligations.

When Do You Have to Report?

The Elder Justice Act mandates reporting in cases where there is a reasonable suspicion of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an older adult. This obligation to report applies to various individuals and entities who interact with older adults on a regular basis. The following are some examples:

1. Healthcare Professionals: Doctors, nurses, social workers, and other healthcare professionals who provide care or services to older adults must report suspected cases of abuse or neglect.

2. Caregivers and Personal Care Attendants: Individuals who provide direct care or assistance to older adults, such as home care workers or personal care attendants, are required to report any suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

3. Staff of Long-Term Care Facilities: Employees of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or other long-term care facilities have a legal obligation to report suspected cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation involving residents.

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4. Financial Institutions: Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions are obligated to report instances where they suspect financial exploitation of an older adult.

5. Law Enforcement: Police officers and other law enforcement personnel who come across cases of suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of older adults are required to report such incidents.

It is important to note that reporting obligations can vary depending on the state in which you reside. Some states may have additional reporting requirements or specify different professionals who must report. Therefore, it is recommended to familiarize yourself with the laws in your state to ensure compliance.


Q: What constitutes abuse, neglect, or exploitation under the Elder Justice Act?
A: Abuse refers to intentional harm or mistreatment, including physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. Neglect refers to the failure to provide necessary care, leading to harm or endangerment of the older adult’s health or well-being. Exploitation involves the unauthorized use of an older adult’s resources, assets, or property for personal benefit.

Q: How do I report suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation?
A: Reporting procedures may vary by state, but generally, you can contact your local Adult Protective Services (APS) agency or law enforcement to report suspected cases. APS agencies are responsible for investigating and intervening in cases of elder abuse.

Q: Are there any legal repercussions for failure to report?
A: Yes, there can be legal consequences for failing to report suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Penalties may include fines, professional sanctions, or even criminal charges in certain cases. It is crucial to understand and fulfill your reporting obligations to protect older adults and avoid legal repercussions.

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Q: Can I report anonymously?
A: In many instances, you can report suspected cases anonymously if you wish to protect your identity. However, it is generally encouraged to provide your contact information to facilitate the investigation and provide any necessary follow-up information.

Q: What protections are in place for those who report in good faith?
A: The Elder Justice Act aims to protect individuals who report suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation in good faith. Whistleblower protections may be available to shield reporters from retaliation or discrimination.


The Elder Justice Act serves as a critical tool in ensuring the safety and well-being of older adults. Reporting suspected cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation is a vital responsibility that falls upon various professionals and individuals who interact with older adults. By understanding when and how to report, we can collectively contribute to creating a safer environment for our senior citizens and uphold their rights under the Elder Justice Act.