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Mandatory Reporting FAQ

Who are mandated reporters?
As of July 1, 2014 mandatory reporters include physical therapists; emergency medical service providers; chiropractors; physicians; surgeons; physicians’ assistants; osteopaths; physicians in training; podiatrists; occupational and physical therapists; medical examiners; coroners; registered nurses; licensed practical nurses; nurse practitioners; hospital and long-term care facility personnel engaged in the admission, care or treatment of patients; chiropractors; psychologists and other mental health professionals; social work practitioners; dentists; law enforcement officials and personnel; court-appointed guardians and conservators; fire protection personnel; pharmacists; community-centered board staff; personnel of banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, another lending or financial institutions; caretaker, staff member, employee or consultant for a licensed or certified care facility, agency, home or governing board, including but not limited to home health providers; caretaker, staff member, employee of, or a consultant for, a home care placement agency, as defined in section 25-27.5-102 (5), C.R.S and clergy (as defined in the children’s code-CRS 19-3-304(2)(AA) and CRS 13-90-109(1)(C)).

How do I know if I’m considered a “social work practitioner”?
“Social Work Practitioner” is a broad term and is not limited to licensed social workers.  A social work practitioner is anyone who has a Bachelor’s of Social Work, a Master’s of Social Work (MSW), a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), or may be a person without a degree in social work but whose job is described as a social worker.

I’m a victim advocate.  Am I a mandatory reporter?
Victim advocates employed by (or volunteering with) a law enforcement agency are mandated reporters, under “Law enforcement officials and personnel”.

Domestic violence or victim advocates who work in community advocacy programs for domestic violence or sex assault victims and have been specially trained, as defined in Section 13-90-107(k), C.R.S., are not specifically named as mandatory reporters for elder abuse, as they are for child abuse.

If you are not a specially trained victim advocate, per 13-90-107(k), and you are, or your job function is, a “social work practitioner “or “psychologist or other mental health professional” you are a mandated reporter.

Who makes the report when it is just the alleged abuser and the alleged victim with no outside services or supports?
Any person that witnesses or suspects that an at-risk elder or at-risk adult is being mistreated may make a report.

What agencies will be doing the training?
State Adult Protective Services (APS) staff will provide training to county staff and the community.  The P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards and Training) Board will create and implement a training curriculum for Peace Officers.  County APS programs will provide training in their community.

Are the reporting requirements the same for "at-risk elders” and "at-risk adults"?
An “at-risk elder” is any person who is 70 years of age or older.  Certain professional groups are required by law to report suspected abuse, neglect, and exploitation of an “at-risk elder” to law enforcement.

An ”at-risk adult” is a person 18 years of age or older who is unable to obtain necessary support services on his/her own, or who lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions.  Certain professional groups are urged to report suspected abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and exploitation of an “at-risk adult” to Adult Protective Services.

Why not include persons age 18 and older who are “at-risk” in the mandatory reporting requirement?
At this time the law does not include adults under the age of 70 for mandatory reporting.  This may change in the future, but any suspicion of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect of at-risk adults of any age, is urged to be reported to Adult Protective Services.

Does the law also include financial exploitation and caretaker neglect, including self-neglect?
The law does include a requirement to report financial and other forms of exploitation, and caretaker neglect of at-risk elders to law enforcement. Self-neglect is not included in statute under mandatory reporting requirements, however, those persons listed as mandatory reporters are urged to report self-neglect of all at-risk adults to Adult Protective Services.

Will there be someone to call to get an opinion as to whether or not I should report? Advice line?
If any abuse, exploitation, or neglect is suspected, a report must be made to law enforcement.  There is no advice line at this time.

Where do the reports go?
If the report is made to law enforcement, they will share the information in the report with Adult Protective Services (APS) within 24 hours.  If APS receives the report, they will share the report with the appropriate law enforcement agency within 24 hours.

What happens if I call the wrong law enforcement agency to make a report or the crime happened in more than one law enforcement jurisdiction?  
Law enforcement has years of experience in responding to reports of criminal activity across jurisdictional boundaries.  As long as you made the report, law enforcement will make certain the right agency (or agencies) respond to the report.

Why can't we just/only call APS?
The mandatory reporting law states that mandatory reporters must report to law enforcement.  This is so possible crimes can be investigated.  If unsure of the victim’s age and you witnessed abuse, neglect or exploitation (possible crimes) you should report to law enforcement.  However, if you make a report to APS because you thought the victim was under 70 years old, don’t worry.  APS will share the report with law enforcement.  

Even though we are mandatory reporters, reporting can sometimes do more harm than good.  How do I weigh the pros and cons of reporting?
Any person who is a mandatory reporter must make a report to law enforcement of any known or suspected physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, or caretaker neglect of an at-risk elder, who is a person 70 years of age and older.  This is the law, and there are consequences for not reporting, such as a Class 3 Misdemeanor.

What's a Class 3 Misdemeanor consequence?
A mandatory reporter who observes the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an at-risk elder, or who has reasonable cause to believe that an at-risk elder has been abused or has been exploited or is at imminent risk of abuse or exploitation, and who willfully fails to report, commits a Class 3 Misdemeanor.  The penalty for a class 3 Misdemeanor in Colorado is a minimum $50.00 fine, and the maximum penalty is six (6) months in jail, a $750.00 fine, or both.

What are penalties for not reporting if victim is less than 70 years old?
There are no penalties for not reporting the abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or exploitation of an at-risk adult.  However, you are urged to report these situations to Adult Protective Services.

What if I don’t know the victim’s age?  Who should I call to make the report?
The intent of the law is to get the report.  If you make the report to law enforcement and they believe a crime may be happening, they will investigate, no matter the age of the victim.  If you think the victim is under 70 years old and report to Adult Protective Services, you will not get in trouble if it turns out the victim is really 70 years or older.

How quickly will law enforcement follow up on the report?
Each law enforcement agency will evaluate the report to determine the appropriate response.  Law enforcement is required to share the report with Adult Protective Services (APS) within 24 hours.  APS will evaluate the report to determine a response.  If the report is screened in for investigation, APS will begin the investigation no later than three business days following the receipt of the report.
How quickly will Adult Protective Services (APS) respond to a report?
Each report is evaluated to determine an appropriate response. If the situation is determined to be an emergency, APS will call 911 and will follow up within 24 hours.  If the situation is not an emergency, APS will respond no later than three working days after the receipt of the report.

Does mandatory reporting apply to domestic violence when both parties are “at-risk elders”?
When the domestic violence manifests as physical abuse, sexual abuse, caretaker neglect, or exploitation you must report.  Emotional or psychological abuse does alone does not require a report to law enforcement.

How many times must abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an at-risk elder be reported before the situation is actually resolved?
You only need to make the report one time.  Law enforcement will evaluate the report to determine a response.  They will also share the report with Adult Protective Services (APS).  APS will evaluate the report to determine the appropriate response.  A law enforcement or APS investigation may follow but there is no prescribed amount of time to resolve issues as each situation is unique.

Will Adult Protective Services (APS) or law enforcement be required to investigate reports? Will some reporting parties have more credibility than others?
All reports will be evaluated by law enforcement and APS to determine the appropriate response.  Not every report will be about a crime.  And not every at-risk elder will meet the APS statutory criteria for an “at-risk adult” in order for APS to conduct an investigation.  All regulations are followed regardless of the professional title of the reporter; no reporter’s information is considered more or less credible based on the reporter’s profession or relationship with the at-risk elder or at-risk adult.

How often should reporters follow up with APS, police, and the elder?
There is no need for mandatory reporters to follow up with Adult Protective Services (APS) or law enforcement.  If either agency needs to interview you, they will contact you.  All APS case information is confidential and cannot be shared except in very limited circumstances.

How long does an agency have to be involved in the case of elder abuse?
There is no set timeframe, but Adult Protective Services strives to implement services quickly in order to mitigate risk and improve safety.  About 80% of all APS cases are closed within three (3) months and about 90% are closed with six (6) months.  

What happens if the elder's family will not get involved?
Adult Protective Services caseworkers will seek out friends of the elder, as well as community resources to help implement services to improve the elder’s safety.

What happens to the family members who are not abusing the elder when the elder abuse is reported?
Each case is different.  If an investigation is conducted family members may be interviewed by law enforcement and/or Adult Protective Services (APS).  APS may ask family members who are not perpetrators to assist with ensuring the elder’s safety.

What happens if the at-risk adult wants the perpetrator to remain in their home or in their life?
Adult Protective Services (APS) respects an at-risk adult’s right to self-determination.  An adult has the right to continue their relationship with an alleged perpetrator, provided the adult has the capacity to make decisions.  APS caseworkers will look at the reasons why the at-risk adult wants to keep their relationship with the alleged perpetrator.  If it’s only because the at-risk adult is in need of resources for assistance, APS will help implement those services to eliminate or lessen the need for continued involvement of the alleged perpetrator.

What happens if the at-risk elder does not want the perpetrator to be charged?
Law enforcement may still charge the perpetrator with a crime if there is enough evidence.  

Will APS be expanded to handle increase in reports?
The Colorado Legislature has provided additional funding to hire additional caseworkers to handle the anticipated 15% increase in reports as a result of mandatory reporting.  All reports received as a result of the new mandatory reporting law will be tracked to determine if there is a need for additional resources.

I work for a financial institution and our federal privacy regulations prohibit us from sharing our client’s financial information with APS so I can’t be a mandatory reporter.
All federal regulatory agencies have recently released the “Interagency Guidance on Privacy Laws and Reporting Financial Abuse of Older Adults”.  “This guidance clarifies that reporting suspected financial abuse of older adults to appropriate local, state, or federal agencies does not, in general, violate the privacy provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) or its implementing regulations.  This document can be found at

As a mandatory reporter, can I make my report anonymously?  
You are strongly urged to provide your name and contact information so that law enforcement and/or APS can follow up with you and get additional information.  This is important to the criminal investigation and for ensuring the victim’s safety.  Additionally, if you report anonymously, there will not be a record that you reported the mistreatment and you could be charged with failure to report.

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