Reports of adult abuse remain high in Washington state

Release Date: 
Jun 09 2022
DSHS Office of Communications
Chris Wright

OLYMPIA — Adult Protective Services, a division of the Department of Social and Health Services, received more than 66,600 reports of vulnerable adult abandonment, abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and self-neglect in 2021. Reports to APS have more than tripled in the past decade.

“These numbers, while high, may actually be underreported since many seniors have been isolated from their loved ones and community members during the pandemic,” said DSHS Secretary Jilma Meneses. “With a rapidly aging population, unfortunately more people will be susceptible to abuse each year. We urge all Washingtonians to be vigilant about recognizing and reporting abuse.”

June is Adult Abuse Awareness Month in Washington state. This annual statewide awareness campaign is designed to promote education, identification and reporting of the mistreatment of vulnerable adults throughout the state.

“We believe that everyone deserves the right to live free from harm,” said APS Director Kathy Morgan. “Our job is to give people a voice and offer services to support them in doing so.”

There are many forms of adult abuse: neglect and self-neglect as well as financial, physical, sexual and mental abuse. Signs of abuse can include:

· Lack of adequate food

· Suspicious financial withdraws

· Sudden change in behavior

· Changes in social engagement

Additional information about signs of abuse is available on the APS website.

“Reporting is a partnership and APS relies on the public to be our eyes and ears when it comes to protecting vulnerable adults,” said Morgan. “If you see something, report it. APS can truly make a difference.”

Suspected cases of abandonment, abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and self-neglect should be reported to APS by filing a report online at or by calling 1–877–734–6277.

You can participate in Adult Abuse Awareness Month by checking-in on loved ones, offering respite breaks for caregivers, learning the signs of adult abuse and educating others. To learn more about vulnerable adult abuse, visit the APS website.