Older and Vulnerable Adult Abuse

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or crashes a risk of harm to an older adult. About 1 in 10 people ages 60 and older who live at home experience abuse, neglect, or exploitation. There are various types of elder abuse, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, and financial abuse. Elder abuse can have severe impacts on both the physical and emotional health of older adults. 

Although it is difficult, there are strategies to prevent elder abuse from happening. The Preventing Elder Abuse Factsheet provides information about what  you can do to prevent elder abuse. (1)

In the state of Tennessee, each department or agency has their own definition of abuse outlined in statue. To learn more about what defines abuse in the state of Tennessee, click here.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Understanding Elder Abuse (Brochure)

Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury: Financial Exploitation of the Elderly in Tennessee Report


The  Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) Adult Protective Services staff investigates reports of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of adults who are unable to protect themselves. The investigation process is outlined on the DHS-Adult Protective Services website.

Do you suspect abuse/neglect/exploitation?

Adult Protective Services

  • Toll free: 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366) 
  • Report online: https://reportadultabuse.dhs.tn.gov 
  • Tennessee Department of Human Services: Stopping Abuse of the Elderly and Vulnerable Adults May Start With You (Brochure

 Tennessee Relay Services 

Tennessee Abuse Registry

The Abuse Registry in Tennessee is maintained by the Tennessee Department of Health. Abuse registry includes name of persons who have abused, neglected, exploited or misappropriated the property of vulnerable persons. Under Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A) § 68-11-1004, no employee or volunteer whose name is listed on the Abuse Registry may be hired or otherwise permitted to provide services to “vulnerable persons”, as defined by T.C.A. § 68-11-1002(6).When using the link below to check to see if a person’s name is on the Abuse Registry, we strongly recommend that you search by Social Security number.

To verify if someone is included in the registry, visit: https://apps.health.tn.gov/abuseregistry

Tennessee Attorney General's Office

The Tennessee Attorney General's Office, Division of Consumer Affairs strives to protect consumers and businesses from those who engage in illegal activity, and encourages the development of fair consumer practices and promotes consumer education. Visit their website to learn more about protecting you and your loved ones from scams, accesses consumer resources, and to file a complaint.

The Tennessee Attorney General's Office, Division of Consumer Affairs 

Do you need to report identity theft?

Visit: IdentityTheft.gov 

Do you need to file a health care provider or facility complaint? 

Contact the Tennessee Department of Health Division of Health care Facilities in the event you need to  file a complaint against a health care provider or health care facility.