News Flash

Department of Social Services

Posted on: June 15, 2023

Beaufort County DSS observes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Elder Abuse Awareness Day Graphic

Beaufort County Department of Social Services employees are wearing purple Thursday, June 15, in observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines elder abuse as “an intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.” Physical abuse, neglect, emotional or psychological abuse, verbal abuse and threats, financial abuse and exploitation, sexual abuse and abandonment are all forms of elder abuse.

North Carolina law protects adults with disabilities of any age from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Abuse, neglect and exploitation can be physical, emotional or financial. The law states that “any person having reasonable cause to believe that a disabled adult is in need of protective services shall report such information.”

  • Abuse: willful infliction of physical pain, injury or mental anguish, unreasonable confinement, or the willful deprivation by a caretaker of services necessary to maintain mental and physical health.
  • Neglect: a disabled adult who is either living alone and not able to provide for themselves the services necessary to maintain their mental or physical health (self-neglect), or who is not receiving services from his caretaker.
  • Exploitation: illegal or improper use of a disabled adult or his resources for another’s profit or advantage.

 BCDSS strives to promote the health, well-being, and safety of the most vulnerable populations of Beaufort County. BCDSS Adult Services Units strive to provide services in a responsive and compassionate manner while maintaining the dignity and integrity of those in need.

 BCDSS Adult Services offers Adult Protective Services, through which it investigates allegations of mental and/or physical abuse, neglect (caretaker or self) and exploitation (of a person or assets) involving older adults or adults with disabilities.

Depending on the case decision after the full investigation, BCDSS can assist this vulnerable population with options such as Medicaid and food stamps assistance, home-delivered meals, congregate meals, in-home aide services, Community Alternatives Program (CAP), transportation and special assistance. Along with investigation, interpersonal discussions and medical input/information, these options can be used to ensure the confirmed allegation(s) are no longer existent, thus allowing the older or disabled adult to remain in their living environment or a safe placement.

If you suspect or have witnessed any form of abuse, neglect or exploitation, you can contact your county department of social services to file an Adult Protective Services report.

If immediate protection is needed, please contact your local law enforcement to assist. 

The reporting is kept confidential, and information about the person who reports the abuse is not disclosed.

To file an Adult Protective Services report in Beaufort County, please contact Beaufort County Department of Social Services, located at 632 W. Fifth St., Washington, NC 27889. The department’s phone number is 252-975-5500. Request to speak with the Adult Services intake

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.

The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of the abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.


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