Elderly woman left alone in a hallway with her furniture.
Reporting suspected elder abuse in Texas is a vital act of respect and kindness.
April 5, 2024
April 8, 2024

How to Report Elderly Abuse in Texas

Elder abuse is a serious and often hidden issue that affects thousands of seniors every year. By reporting suspected abuse or neglect, you could help save lives and support the dignity of our senior citizens.

Whether it be physical, emotional, financial, or neglectful in nature, elder abuse can have devastating consequences on the health and dignity of older adults. Anonymous reporting mechanisms help everyday individuals make a heroic contribution to community safety.

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As advocates for justice and guardians of the vulnerable, we at Pierce Skrabanek understand the importance of safeguarding the well-being and rights of our elderly population. This page is dedicated to providing valuable information and guidance on how to report and address instances of elder abuse in the state of Texas.

Read on to find essential resources and step-by-step instructions on what elder abuse is, and who to contact when abuse is suspected. Our goal is to empower individuals with the knowledge and tools necessary to take action against elder abuse. This ensures that our aging population receives the care and respect they deserve.

If you need to speak with an attorney about a specific instance of elder abuse, contact Pierce Skrabanek in Houston by calling (832) 690-7000. We can help you assert your personal rights, or file a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one.

A person’s hard-earned golden years deserve respect and protection. If you notice abuse, taking the following steps to report your findings could be the heroic act necessary to stop the harm. With one decision, you could save families years of heartache, and change someone’s life for the better.

How to Report Elderly Abuse in Texas: Online or By Phone

In Texas, you can report elderly abuse through the following methods:

  • Online: You can report abuse online at the Texas Abuse Hotline website. Please note that this method should only be used if the victim is not in immediate danger.
  • By Phone: Call the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400. This hotline is toll-free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nationwide.
  • For Emergencies: Call 911 or local law enforcement (police) if there is an immediate emergency or life-threatening situation that needs a rapid response.

The Texas DFPS is responsible for investigating reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults who are elderly or have disabilities. They also provide services when those adults live in the community and educate the public about the prevention of elder abuse.

Please remember, anyone who has a reasonable cause to believe a person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it to DFPS according to Texas laws. A person who reports abuse in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. Anyone who does not report suspected abuse may be held liable for that oversight. 

Contact Pierce Skrabanek
in Houston at (832) 690-7000 for more specific legal advice related to your situation.

What Is the Penalty for Elder Abuse in Texas?

In Texas, penalties for elder abuse vary depending on the severity of the offense and the specific circumstances involved. The penalties for elder abuse may include fines, imprisonment, probation, restitution, and other legal consequences.

The Texas Penal Code outlines various offenses related to elder abuse, and penalties can differ based on various factors. These include the age of the victim, the type of abuse committed, and whether aggravating circumstances are present. For example:

  • Physical Abuse: Intentionally causing bodily injury, pain, or impairment to an elderly individual may result in criminal charges such as assault or aggravated assault. Such actions can carry penalties ranging from misdemeanor to felony charges with varying degrees of severity.
  • Financial Exploitation: Taking advantage of an elderly person's finances or property through deception or coercion may lead to fines, ordered restitution, and potentially imprisonment. These penalties can also apply to the stealing or misuse of a senior’s Medicare or Social Security benefits.
  • Neglect: Failing to provide adequate care and support for an elderly person's basic needs, such as food, shelter, medical care, or protection from harm, can lead to charges of neglect. This may result in criminal penalties and civil consequences, including removal of guardianship or conservatorship rights.

Inflicting mental anguish or psychological harm on an elderly individual through verbal threats or other forms of emotional abuse may result in criminal charges and civil liability like personal injury lawsuits.

There are specific laws and regulations aimed at protecting elderly individuals from abuse, including the national Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act, and provisions within the Texas Family Code and Texas Human Resources Code. These laws provide legal recourse for victims of elder abuse and establish mechanisms for reporting, investigating, and prosecuting cases of mistreatment or neglect.

Is Elderly Abuse a Felony?

In Texas, elder abuse can indeed be considered a felony, depending on the severity and nature of the abuse.

Under Texas law, people who commit crimes against vulnerable members of society, including citizens who are aged 65 or older, may face enhanced penalties. This includes physical and sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse.

Felonies related to elder abuse in Texas can vary in degree based on the severity of the crime:

  • A third-degree felony can mean up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • A second-degree felony can result in up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • A first-degree felony is punishable by five to 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Please note that these are only general guidelines. The specific penalties are decided based on the circumstances of each case. 

If you suspect elder abuse, it’s crucial to report it to local authorities who can take appropriate action. If you need further assistance or have more questions, feel free to ask our attorneys.

Can You Report Elder Abuse Anonymously?

Yes, in many cases, you can report elder abuse anonymously. Most states, including Texas, have systems in place that allow individuals to report suspected elder abuse without disclosing their identity to authorities.

Reporting elder abuse anonymously can be an important option for individuals who fear retaliation or are otherwise hesitant to come forward with information. An example would be a vulnerable employee in a nursing home who needs to report mistreatment done by individuals in management. 

By providing a safe and confidential way to report suspicions of elder abuse, these anonymous reporting mechanisms help ensure that vulnerable seniors receive the protection and support they need.

It's important to note that while you can report elder abuse anonymously, providing as much detailed information as possible can aid authorities in their investigation. It can also help protect the elderly individual from further harm. If you choose to report anonymously, consider providing specific details about the alleged abuse, including dates, times, locations, and any individuals involved, to the best of your ability.

Proudly Representing Texas Residents

Contact Elder Abuse Injury Attorneys

Each day, countless seniors across Texas endure physical, emotional, financial, and other forms of abuse, often in silence and isolation. The fight against elder abuse requires collective action and unwavering dedication to protecting the rights and well-being of our elderly population. You can play a small but essential role in maintaining human dignity for people of all ages by reporting suspected elder abuse.

As injury attorneys with experience in elder abuse cases, we also play a crucial role in advocating for justice and seeking compensation for victims who have suffered harm at the hands of caregivers or institutions.

If you or a loved one have been harmed by elder abuse or neglect in Texas, contact Pierce Skrabanek by calling our Houston headquarters at (832) 690-7000. Legal action could help improve safety protocols, and remove predatory or incompetent individuals from nursing home facilities. You may also be entitled to financial compensation for stolen funds, or the costs of medical care, psycholgical therapy, or relocation to a safer place.

If you see something amiss, say something as soon as possible. One small action could have a large ripple effect that safeguards the elderly and preserves the dignity we all deserve.

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