Adult Protective Services

What are the responsibilities of DHR?

DHR is charged with the responsibility of seeking out, through investigation, complaints from citizens or otherwise, the adults who may be in need of care and protection because of danger to their health or safety. Additionally, DHR arranges services and provides case management services for adults in need of protection. DHR must also aid such adults to a fair opportunity in life. Essentially, DHR must receive and investigate reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of vulnerable adults. We also petition the court to authorize the Department to arrange for services when there is an immediate danger to health and safety and the adult does not or cannot consent to services.

Must I report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult or disabled individual?

Yes, if you are a practitioner of the healing arts or caregiver, you are required by law to report any form of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult who is physically or mentally incapable of adequately caring for his or herself. Long Term Care Ombudsmen are also mandated reporters.

When must I report?

Mandated reporters must report immediately after finding reasonable cause to believe that an adult in need of protection has been subjected to any form of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Reports may be made orally by telephone or in person. It should be followed by a written report.

Who can report adult abuse?

Any individual who is concerned about the well being of an individual who is 18 years old or older who is unable to protect themselves due to mental or physical impairments may make a report. Optional reporters (private individuals and social services agency representatives) may also report suspected adult abuse. Anonymous reports are accepted.

To whom are reports made?

Reports may be made to the sheriff, chief of police or to any County Department of Human Resources. A county office is located in each county within the State of Alabama. Reports may also be made by calling the Adult Abuse hotline at 1-800-458-7214.

What information should I include in my report?

As much basic information as possible, such as the name, address and age of the alleged victim should be included. The nature and extent of injuries, and any facts and circumstances which may assist with meeting the needs of the alleged victim should also be included.

After I make a report, what happens next?

The county DHR or the appropriate law enforcement authority will make an investigation within seven (7) calendar days after receiving the report. Investigations are initiated immediately when there is immediate danger to health and safety.

Will the law protect me if I make a report?

Yes, the Adult Protective Services Act grants immunity from civil or criminal liability to any individual who reports and participates in judicial proceedings concerning reports.