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Abuse, Neglect & Exploitation

The State of Connecticut has several points of contact for people who have experienced or observed abuse can use to report it. Abuse can affect people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds and can be perpetrated by family members, friends, caregivers and others. Generally, the types of abuse involve: physical, emotional, sexual, neglect, abandonment and financial exploitation.

Older adults and people with disabilities may be particularly vulnerable to abuse. Social isolation, cognitive challenges, disability and illness are factors that may make people more vulnerable. It is important to learn about abuse and exploitation so it's recognized, addressed and ultimately prevented.

Types of Abuse

Abuse is a pattern of behavior used by someone to inflict physical pain or mental anguish or the willful deprivation which are necessary to maintain physical and mental health. These behaviors can take on a number of different forms.

  • Abuse: Actions or words which may cause physical, mental or emotional trauma. Sexual abuse may include physical and nonphysical components.
  • Neglect: Intentional or unintentional failure or refusal to provide care or help – an extreme form of neglect.
  • Exploitation: Taking advantage of an individual whether for monetary or personal gain.
  • Abandonment: The purposeful and permanent desertion of an older adult by an obligated caregiver.

Elder Abuse

The Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut has an online resource to help people detect, prevent and report abuse. For additional information, consult the links below:

Web-based training material for caregivers, mandated reporters, financial agents and conservators are also available.

Reporting Elder Abuse

To report elder abuse, call the Protective Services for the Elderly Division within the Department of Social Services (DSS) at 1-888-385-4225 during regular business hours.

After business hours or on weekends or state holidays, call Infoline at 2-1-1. Callers outside Connecticut can contact Infoline 24/7 at 1-800-203-1234.

Visit the DSS Protective Services for the Elderly website for more information.

Abuse of older adults and people with disabilities is a major unreported problem in our society. For more information on reporting elder abuse, see Your Legal Rights

Abuse of People with Intellectual Disabilities

People with intellectual disabilities are reported to also be at an increased risk of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The Abuse Investigation Division (AID) of the DDS investigates claims of abuse or neglect for people ages 18 through 59.

The Division will pursue the appropriate remedies for abuse or neglect that involve family, caregivers or the service provider. AID will also investigate the death of any person with an intellectual disability, regardless of age, if abuse or neglect is suspected to have contributed to the death.

Reporting Abuse of People with Intellectual Disabilities

To report abuse for people with intellectual disabilities ages 18-59, call AID at the DDS at 1-844-878-8923. Visit the Abuse Investigation Division website for additional information.

Child Abuse

Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, through action or neglect, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. Forms of child maltreatment include physical, sexual and emotional abuse and exploitation.

Child Protective Services carries out the Department of Children and Families (DCF) mandate to investigate all reports of alleged child maltreatment and provide protective services to children who have suffered maltreatment.

Reporting Child Abuse

To make a child abuse or neglect report, call the Careline at the Department of Children and Families at 1-800-842-2288 (TDD: 1-800-624-5518). It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Visit the DCF Child Protective Services website for additional information.

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