OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced issuing new guidance on the role and responsibilities of mandated reporters in safeguarding some of the most vulnerable members of our communities — elders and dependent adults. In California, any person who is involved in the care of elder or dependent adults is a mandated reporter. That includes employees of long-term care facilities, health practitioners, and law enforcement professionals. Mandated reporters play a crucial role in protecting the state’s elders and dependent adults from abuse and neglect. The California Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a newly revised curriculum and resources to train mandated reporters on identifying and reporting abuse and neglect of those under their care.
“By fulfilling their legal responsibility to report abuse or neglect, mandated reporters protect the safety and health of California’s elder and dependent adults,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Too often, these vulnerable adults suffer in silence. It is up to all of us, and especially to anyone involved in their care, to protect them against harm and to ensure they get the comfort and dignity they deserve. To California’s mandated reporters — I urge you to go through our resources, learn to spot warning signs, and alert my office immediately if you think an elder or dependent adult is being mistreated. You play a vital role in making California safer for everyone.”
Elder abuse is a national issue that threatens some of the most vulnerable members of our communities — according to figures by the U.S. Department of Justice, at least 10% of adults age 65 and older will be a victim of elder abuse in a given year. To fight this, California has laws in place that require caregivers designated as mandated reporters to report any instance of abuse they know or suspect.
California defines a mandated reporter as a person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for the care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not they receive compensation. This includes:
Under California law, it is the legal duty of mandated reporters to report known or suspected abuse of elder or dependent adults to the proper authorities. Failure to do so is a crime and may incur stiff penalties. Mandated reporters who report, as required by law, are protected from civil and criminal liability that stems from filing the report, and are guaranteed certain confidentiality rights. If an employer takes adverse action against an employee for filing a mandated report, that employer can be criminally investigated and prosecuted.
Abuse of an elder or dependent adult can present in a variety of different forms, including physical or sexual abuse, neglect and abandonment, financial exploitation, or psychological harm. DOJ's updated training curriculum provides information on the different kinds of abuse, and warning signs mandated reporters should look out for, such as bruises, burns, drugging, untreated skin disorders, inadequate clothing, unpaid bills, and missing checkbooks or legal documents.
The curriculum also provides tips and information on reporting instances of suspected or known abuse.
Those who seek to report such instances may do so by:
Sending a written complaint by mail to:
California Department of Justice
Division of Medi-Cal Fraud Elder Abuse
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Calling the hotline:
Phone Toll-free: (800) 722-0432
Attorney General's Division of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse
Phone Toll-free: (800) 822-6222
Department of Health Services
Or submitting a complaint online at:
The Attorney General's Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (DMFEA) works aggressively to protect senior residents in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities from physical and financial abuse or neglect. Elder abuse in any form is not tolerated. For more information about the Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse please visit DMFEA's website at oag.ca.gov/dmfea/ or email DMFEAOutreach@doj.ca.gov.
DMFEA receives 75% of its funding from HHS under a grant award totaling $53,792,132 for federal fiscal year 2022-2023. The remaining 25% is funded by the State of California. The federal fiscal year is defined as October 1 through September 30.
The revised training curriculum for mandated reporters can be found here.
More details on mandated reporters, including a new informational video, can be found here.