Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Department of Human Services

Adults at Risk

(Ages 18 to 59)

Call the Adult Protective Services Helpline at (608)261-9933 to report suspected abuse or neglect of an adult at risk.  Adults at risk are those persons 18-59 years old, with a physical or mental condition that impairs the ability to care for their own needs and who is experiencing, has experienced, or is at risk of experiencing abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation.

What happens when an Adult at Risk concern is reported?

When the Department of Human Services receives a report to be investigated, the goal of the investigation is to determine if the reported concern can be substantiated or not.  Additionally, if abuse is substantiated APS Investigators will work to mitigate any further risk to the alleged victim.

The scope of the investigation may include but is not limited to:

-          Visit:  A visit by an APS Investigator to the home of the adult alleged to be at risk

-          Observation: APS Investigators will observe the behavior of the adult alleged to be at risk

-          Interviews:  The adult alleged to be at risk will be interviewed.  Whenever possible, this interview will be private.  Afterward, APS Investigators will conduct interviews with other people who know the person and their situation.  Consideration will be given to the nature of the individual’s relationship to the at-risk adult before contacting them.

-          Health Review:  As needed, Investigators may review past treatment and health records

Once the investigation is complete, the APS Investigator will determine if abuse or neglect is occurring and will then take the necessary steps to mitigate any risk depending on the situation and the results of their investigation

Important things to know about reporting abuse or neglect.

  • The nature of abuse allegations is sensitive and a report often has a big impact on families and individuals. As such, the Adults at Risk investigator will attempt to establish communication in the least intrusive way possible.

  • The reporter of suspected abuse or neglect can request to remain anonymous. Wisconsin law, Chapter 46.90 protects their identity.

  • The person who is the subject of the abuse or neglect report may refuse the investigation or services. If the person is competent and refuses the investigation, the investigation ceases. (Competence refers to an individual’s capacity to make informed decisions and does not refer to the quality of the decisions.)

  • A commitment to protecting a competent person’s right to self-determination is a guiding principle during the investigation process.