Adult abuse does not discriminate and can affect people of all ethnic backgrounds and social status. An abuse victim could be your neighbor, friend, or family member. It is estimated that only one in every ten or more cases of adult abuse is reported. The Adult Protective Services Program handles reports of alleged abuse against an adult aged 60 years of age and older or an adult with a disabilities aged 18 through 59.
The State of Illinois provides the following definitions:
- Physical Abuse – causing the infliction of physical pain or injury upon an adult.
- Sexual abuse – touching, fondling, intercourse, or any other sexual activity with an adult, when the adult is unable to understand, unwilling to consent, threatened, or physically forced.
- Emotional abuse – verbal assaults, threats of maltreatment, harassment, or intimidation.
- Confinement – restraining or isolating an adult, other than for medical reasons.
- Passive neglect – the caregiver’s failure to provide an adult with life’s necessities including, but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
- Willful deprivation – deliberate denial of an adult’s medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device, or other physical assistance, which thereby exposes that adult to the risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm-except when the adult has expressed an intent to forego such care.
- Financial exploitation – the misuse or withholding of an adult’s resources by another, to the disadvantage of the adult or the profit or advantage of someone else.
- Self-Neglect – a condition that is the result of an adult’s inability, due to physical or mental impairments, or both, or a diminished capacity, to perform essential self-care tasks that substantially threaten his or her own health, including providing essential food, clothing, shelter, and health care, and obtaining goods and services necessary to maintain physical health, mental health, emotional well-being, and general safety.
Anyone who suspects that an adult is being mistreated by someone or self-neglecting should call the local Adult Protective Services program at the Center for Prevention of Abuse for Fulton, Marshall, Peoria, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties (309) 637-3905.
Reports can also be made to the Illinois Department on Aging’s 24-Hour Adult Protective Services Hotline: 1-866-800-1409.
Callers should be prepared to report the client or alleged victim’s name and address, what happened, where and when the abuse took place, information about the suspected abusers(s), circumstances that led to the report, and whether there is any immediate danger to the adult.