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Department of Human Services

Adult and Aging Division

Elder Abuse and Neglect

Seniors Deserve Respect

If you’re concerned that a senior in a nursing home or residential care facility isn’t being treated properly, contact the Sonoma County Ombudsman Program for help. Ombudsmen are a voice for anyone concerned about a senior and for the senior who may feel overwhelmed, fearful or ashamed to talk to facility staff about problems. 

Ombudsman services are only for seniors living in long-term care facilities. Day or night, talk confidentially with state-certified counselors who can help resolve issues of neglect, physical, sexual, emotional, verbal or financial abuse at (707) 526-4108 or (800) 231-4024.

If you are concerned about a senior who lives independently in the community, call Sonoma County Adult Protective Services at (800) 667-0404, day or night.

How is Elder Abuse Defined?

Physical Abuse

  • The infliction of physical pain or injury, sexual assault or molestation, or use of physical or chemical restraints for punishment, without or beyond the scope of, a doctor's order. 


  • The failure to fulfill a caretaking duty, such as assisting in personal cleanliness, providing enough healthy food, clothing or shelter, or protecting a person from health and safety hazards.

Financial Abuse 

  • The illegal or unethical exploitation and/or use of an elder’s funds, property or other assets.


  • The desertion of an elder by someone who is a caregiver. 


  • The removal, without the consent of the senior’s conservator, of a senior to another state.


  • Preventing an elder from receiving mail, telephone calls or visitors.

Mental Suffering 

  • The infliction of fear, agitation, confusion through threats, harassment or other forms of intimidating behavior.

Adult Protection Hotline

Abuse and neglect affects many older and dependent adults in Sonoma County. Adult Protective Services (APS) responds to reports of abuse, neglect, exploitation and self-neglect involving older adults age 65+ and disabled, dependent adults age 18+.