COLUMBUS – On the eve of Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced Friday that a data collection and reporting system for capturing reports of elder abuse and neglect is now being used statewide.
All 88 counties use the Ohio Database for Adult Protective Services (ODAPS) to record referrals, investigations and case management activities for every adult abuse, neglect and exploitation case reported in the state, greatly improving both data accuracy and availability.
“It is unfortunate that this system is necessary, but it will help us make more informed decisions and improve transparency and accountability,” ODJFS Director Kimberly Hall said. “Future enhancements will allow us to further reduce duplication, improve reporting capabilities, and allow Ohio’s citizens to submit referrals online.”
This year, Elder Abuse Awareness Day falls on Saturday, June 15. Governor Mike DeWine issued a resolution noting that by 2030 Ohioans age 60 and older will make up more than a quarter of the population in 81 Ohio counties. “Older adults have the right to live free from harm, in peace and with dignity,” Governor DeWine said.
“Elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation are among the worst types of crimes committed against the most vulnerable of our citizens,” added Ursel McElroy, director of the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA). “We are proud to support the work of ODJFS to expand the use and functionality of this important tool for state and local partners to respond to and ultimately stop elder abuse in every setting.”
County JFS agencies receive and investigate nearly 40 elder abuse reports each day. Elder abuse can include physical, sexual or psychological abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment or financial exploitation. Anyone in Ohio can report possible elder abuse 24/7 by calling 1-855-OHIO-APS or by contacting the nearest county JFS agency. To find the nearest county JFS, visit jfs.ohio.gov/county. Physical proof or other evidence is not required. Reports can be made anonymously.
Last September, Ohio law greatly expanded the number of mandatory reporters of elder abuse to include many more individuals in the financial services, legal and medical professions. If mandatory reporters fail to report possible abuse, they could face fines of up to $500. For a complete list of mandatory reporters, see the publication “A Guide to Protecting Ohio’s Elders,” which is available at jfs.ohio.gov/form08025.
The Ohio Department of Aging’s website includes a resource to learn more about the many types of elder abuse, recognize the signs of physical or financial abuse and scams, and report suspected abuse. Visit aging.ohio.gov/elderabuse.