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How To Report Elder Abuse in Wisconsin

It is an unfortunate reality that it may be necessary to report elder abuse at some point to protect a loved one. While inconceivable to most of us, elder abuse is a widespread problem with about 1 in 6 people 60 years and older reporting abuse in a community setting within the past year, according to a study by the World Health Organization.

This is an extremely sad statistic for some of the most vulnerable members of our society, but it is one that we can fight back against by being aware of the types and signs of abuse and – most importantly – reporting it when we see it.

Here, we are going to explain how to report elder abuse in Wisconsin, along with a brief overview of the types of abuse and how a lawyer may be able to help. At Boller & Vaughan, we are committed to supporting elders and doing everything we can to hold abusers accountable for their actions.

Who Do I Notify About Elder Abuse?

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services provides adult protective services where you can report abuse of an adult or an elderly adult at risk. There are a few options for reporting abuse:

  • You can find your county’s office on this page and contact them directly
  • You can fill out a form on
  • You can call the Wisconsin Elder Abuse hotline at 1-833-586-0107
  • If the alleged abuser is on staff at a long-term care facility, you should first contact the Office of Caregiver Quality at the Department of Health Services by calling 608-261-8319

However, keep in mind that if the abuse is serious, placing someone in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911 right away to report the abuse so no time is wasted getting the elder out of harm’s way.

What Information Should I Give When Reporting Abuse?

Once you are in contact with the Department of Health Services, you will be asked to give as much information as possible about the situation so that a caseworker can thoroughly understand the situation and establish a plan of action.

Some of the information you should be prepared to provide:

  • Information about the elder, including their name, address, caregiver or guardian information, and age
  • Information about the abuse, including the type of abuse and why you believe it is occurring
  • Information about the individual(s) you believe is committing the abuse
  • Anything else you can think of that could be important

Ultimately, the more details you can provide, the better, so take a few minutes to write down as much as you can and don’t hesitate to follow up with the caseworker if you remember further details.

Who Must Report Elder Abuse in Wisconsin?

While anyone can report elder abuse – and should do so as soon as they suspect elder abuse is occurring – there are some individuals who are required by law to report abuse, including:

  • Employees of nursing homes, assisted living centers, and community-based residential facilities (CBRFs) licensed by, certified by, or registered with the state of Wisconsin
  • Healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses, and staff
  • Family therapists, social workers, and professional counselors

If these individuals witness or suspect elder abuse but fail to report it, they could be charged with a crime on top of facing a civil claim for the damages caused by their negligence.

What Is Considered Elder Abuse?

While the term “abuse” generally causes us to think about physical abuse, elder abuse comes in various forms that we all should be aware of, including:

  • Emotional or psychological abuse: This occurs when someone is harassing, berating, humiliating, or threatening an elder, which can result in significant, negative changes to their mental and emotional well-being. 
  • Financial exploitation: Elder financial abuse occurs when an elder is being tricked into giving away funds or assets – or is being directly stolen from – which unfortunately is all-too-common with the vulnerable state many elders are in. 
  • Sexual abuse: This occurs when someone forces an elder into nonconsensual sexual activities, which can include everything from rape to taking unwanted explicit photographs of an elder.

It is also worth mentioning neglect, which is not technically abuse but can still result in significant mental, emotional, and physical damage to elders. Unlike abuse, neglect does not involve an intent to cause harm; instead, it is the result of a caregiver not providing an elder with the attention and care they need and deserve to stay healthy and well. 

How a Lawyer Can Help

While elder abuse is a crime that can lead to fines and jail time, it can also result in a civil case where the individual(s) responsible for the abuse has to pay compensation to the elder and/or their family for the damages sustained as a result of the abuse. These damages can include medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.

However, proving negligence, gathering evidence, calculating damages, and fighting for compensation require experience, know-how, and substantial time investments. An elder abuse lawyer can provide each of these, giving abused elders and their loved ones the legal knowledge and experience needed to pursue compensation against the wrongdoer.

Contact a Madison Elder Abuse Attorney for FREE

If you believe you or a loved one may have a right to compensation for elder abuse, we encourage you to get in touch as soon as possible for a FREE case review after you have reported the abuse.
At Boller & Vaughan, we are staunch, compassionate advocates for elders, and we are here to do everything we can to obtain justice for you and your family. Get in touch with the Madison elder abuse lawyers at Boller & Vaughan today by calling (608) 268-0268 or filling out our contact form.