Abuse/Neglect of Elderly and Adults at Risk

Adult Protective Services (APS)

What are Adult Protective Services?

Per Wis. Stat 55.02, APS are services that, when provided to an individual with:
  • developmental disabilities
  • degenerative brain disorder
  • serious/persistent mental illness or other like incapacities,
Services keep them safe from abuse, neglect or misappropriation of property.
APS also prevents the individual from experiencing deterioration or from inflicting harm on themselves or others.

What is abuse?

Anyone can be the victim of abuse. Abuse takes place when a person is a victim of physical abuse, financial exploitation, neglect or self neglect. Victims are among the most socially isolated and physically vulnerable. Many times the abuser is the victim's caregiver, spouse, partner, or other family member and the victim has been conditioned to not report the abuse or neglect.

What to look for?

Abusers try to hide evidence and often try to isolate the victim from others. Some signs of abuse include:
  • Repeated unexplained injuries
  • Poor skin condition, poor hygiene and weight loss
  • Declining health
  • Not as active as usual (isolation)
  • Expressing fear or concern about a caregiver
  • Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities
  • Money, property, or other assets used, taken or sold
Who to contact?

To report suspected abuse or neglect, contact the Washington County Adult Protective Services (APS) Hotline at 262-365-5757.  The report will be investigated and services offered to ensure the safety and improved quality of life of the subject of the report.  The person does have the right to refuse services unless:
  • The vulnerable person lacks sufficient mental capacity to protect him or herself. In those cases a protective placement may be initiated.
  • A crime has been committed and law enforcement takes action.

Guardianship and Protective Placement

APS staff may assist individuals in need of guardianship and protective placement in certain situations. 

What is a guardian?

A person appointed by a court to serve as a substitute decision maker for a person who, because of an impairment, is found by a court to be incompetent.  Incompetence defined:  Incapable of managing finances or personal needs because of mental impairment due to aging, developmental disability, mental illness or alcoholism.
For more information contact the Washington County Adult Protective Services (APS) Hotline 262-365-5757

Wisconsin Guardianship Support Center
Greater Wisconsin Area Agency on Aging Resources, Inc.(GWAAR)
Phone 855-409-9410
Fax 866-561-2652

Friends, Inc. Services provided include:
24 Hour Crisis Line, Shelter, One-on-One Supportive Counseling, Support groups, Legal Advocacy, Information and Referral, Community Education and Awareness. Transitional Living Program and Sexual Assault Program, Crime Victim Compensation Assistance and Violence Program.

Business Hours 8:00am - 4:30pm Monday through Friday
Business Phone 262-334-5598
Business Fax 262-334-7725

Crisis Lines-24 Hours a Day:
West Bend 262-334-7298
Germantown 262-255-9488
Hartford 262-673-7298

State of Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long Term Care - Ombudsman Program: Responds to complaints and problems of residents or recipients of long term care such as nursing homes, CBRF's, and group homes. Concerns regarding such things as quality of care, resident's rights, physical abuse and neglect, and chemical restraints, etc., can all be investigated.
Phone Number 800-815-0015
Washington County Contact: Joan Schmitz 262-785-7166

Sexual Abuse Nurse Examiner (SANE)
Provides assistance for victims of sexual crimes and educates the community about sexual assault and prevention.
Aurora Medical Center in Washington County
Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin St.Joseph's Hospital