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Reporting Abuse and Neglect

If you think someone is being hurt or in danger, call 9-1-1 immediately. 

If you believe that abuse, neglect or financial exploitation may be occuring, call the statwide abuse reporting line 1-855-503-SAFE.

report abuse and neglectMost people call because of concern about the welfare of an individual either in their own home, a relative home or as a resident of a care facility.  You do not have to determine if abuse or neglect actually occurred before you call.

Everyone should report abuse

We all have a responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves.  Oregon law requires mandatory reporting by certain people.

Reporting Abuse and Neglect of Adults with Developmental Disabilities

How to report

If you believe abuse is occurring, immediately contact your county developmental disability program. 

In an emergency contact your local law enforcement agency. 
Mandatory reporters
To prevent abuse and safeguard the welfare of adults with developmental disabilities, the Oregon legislature determined it was necessary and in the public interest to require mandatory abuse reporting for certain private and public officials. They include: 
  • Physician, naturopathic, physician, osteopathic physician, psychologist, chiropractor or podiatric physician and surgeon, including any intern or resident
  • Licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, nurse's aide, home health aide or employee of an in-home health service
  • Employee of the Department of Human Services, county health department, community mental health and developmental disabilities program or private agency contracting with a public body to provide any community mental health service
  • Peace officer
  • Member of the clergy
  • Licensed clinical social worker
  • Physical, speech or occupational therapist
  • Information and referral, outreach or crisis worker
  • Attorney
  • Any public official who comes in contact with adults in the performance of the official's duties.
When acting in an official capacity, mandatory reporters must report instances, when the reporter has reasonable cause to believe abuse has occurred, to the community program or a local law enforcement agency. 

What happens to an abuse report 
Within 24 hours of receiving a report of alleged abuse, we take these steps:
  • Investigate the nature and cause of the alleged abuse
  • Determine if protective services are needed
  • Provide protective services as needed
If there is reason to believe a crime has been committed, law enforcement will be notified. 

State investigation of alleged abuse 
The Department of Human Services, Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations (OAAPI)conducts abuse and neglect investigations in all state-operated programs for adults with developmental disabilities. 

If determined necessary or appropriate, DHS, Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations (OAAPI) may conduct an investigation itself rather than allow the community program to investigate the alleged abuse or in addition to the investigation by the community program. Under such circumstances, the community program must receive authorization from The Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations (OAAPI) before conducting any separate investigation. 

Also see: Mandatory reporting 

Confidentiality of the reporters name and identity is highly protected

State law protects the confidentiality of all individuals reporting abuse. Your identity may only be disclosed under specific legal exceptions such as by order of a judge or if required to perform the investigation by a law enforcement agency. You are not required to give your name if you wish to remain anonymous.
Oregon's adult abuse reporting law affords protection for any individual who reports suspected abuse in good faith.  Anyone reporting adult abuse with reasonable grounds is immune from civil liability. 
DHS and local aging and disability offices provide protective services and investigate reports of suspected abuse.  These agencies will determine whether or not abuse or neglect occurred and work with law enforcement when a potential crime may have occurred.

Mandatory reporting

There are categories of professionals and public officials who must report suspected abuse. Mandatory reporters is defined in 124.050(9). See the full list of mandatory reporters.

Who is a mandatory reporter?

You are a mandatory reporter for older adults if you are a:
  • Naturopathic, osteopathic, podiatric, chiropractic or general physician or surgeon (including an intern or resident);
  • licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, nurse's aide, caregiver, home health aide or employee of an in-home health service;
  • employee of DHS or OHA, county health department, community mental health, developmental disabilities program or an area agency on aging (AAA);
  • peace officer;
  • member of the clergy;
  • psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, licensed professional counselor, licensed clinical social worker or licensed marriage and family therapist;
  • physical therapist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, audiologist or speech language pathologist;
  • information and referral or outreach worker;
  • senior center employee;
  • firefighter or emergency medical technician;
  • adult foster home licensee or an employee of the licensee; or
  • any public official that comes in contact with older adults in the performance of the official's duties.