The Elder Abuse and Neglect Program
The Illinois Elder Abuse and Neglect Act became law in 1988 and
called for the state to address the problem of domestic elder abuse. As
a result, the Elder Abuse and Neglect Program was implemented under the
direction of the Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA). This statewide program
was established to respond to reports of alleged elder abuse, neglect and
exploitation and to work with the older victims in resolving abusive situations.
Services are available to those age 60 and older who live in the community.
The State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program responds to many types of complaints
from nursing home residents, including reports of abuse and neglect. The
agency responsible for investigating allegations of abuse or neglect in
long term care facilities, however, is the Illinois Department of Public
After a report is made, trained case workers assess the situation
and provide information and assistance to help the older person
and family resolve their problems. Many different programs and
services, include but are not limited to, respite care for the
caregiver, adult day care, housing assistance, and nutrition
As of January 1, 1999, professionals are required, for the first
time, to report suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation of
persons over 60 who, because of dysfunction, are unable to report
themselves. The mandatory reporting requirement applies only
to an older person who is unable to seek assistance for himself
or herself in order not to compromise the older person's right
to self-determination. Voluntary reporting continues to be encouraged
for suspected mistreatment of older citizens who have the ability
to self report.
Mandated reporters include a range of professionals in the medical,
social service, law enforcement and eldercare fields. Reporters
of elder abuse are provided by law with immunity from criminal
or civil liability and professional disciplinary action.
If elder abuse is suspected, calls can be made to the IDOA hotline
at 800-252-8966, 8:30 to 5:00 Monday through Friday (voice and
T.D.D.), or to 800-279-0400 evenings, weekends, and holidays.