Where to Report an Elder Abuse Case in California

Robert Fettgather
2 min readMar 17, 2023

An associate faculty at Mission College in Santa Clara, California, Robert Fettgather Ph.D. teaches general psychology, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, and psychiatric interviewing. Dr. Robert Fettgather has co-authored several papers on social issues, such as “Elder abuse as an emerging public health concern: identifying deficiencies in law enforcement policy.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines elder abuse as “an intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.” Federal law provides that any instance of elder abuse must be reported to the police. However, based on two reports published by the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services, many incidences of elder abuse are not reported to the police.

In California, a suspected elder abuse case may first be reported to 911 so that immediate medical attention will be given to the elder. Then, the incident may be formally reported to the appropriate government agency, depending on where the elder lives and the type of abuse he or she experienced.

For elders living in a private home, hotel, apartment, or inpatient hospital, the elder abuse case may be reported to the California Adult Protective Services (APS). An elder abuse that occurred in an adult residential facility or a nursing home may be reported to the California Long Term Care Ombudsman. The Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse handles cases of elder abuse inflicted by Medi-Cal providers, care facility employees, and operators of hospitals, skilled nursing homes, and residential care facilities.

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Robert Fettgather
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Dr. Robert Fettgather holds a PhD in psychology, master’s degrees in psychology and special education, and a bachelor of arts in psychology.