Abuse, Neglect & Exploitation
Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation are against the law in Texas, and so is failure to report it. If you suspect that a child, a person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities has been abused or mistreated, you are required to report it to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services or to a law enforcement agency. You are required to make a report immediately. (No more than 1 hour). A person making a report is immune from civil or criminal liability, and the name of the person making the report is kept confidential. Any person suspecting abuse and not reporting or falsely reporting can be held liable for a Class A or B misdemeanor.
What is Abuse?
Abuse is mental, emotional, physical, or sexual injury to a child, person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities or failure to prevent such injury.
What is Neglect?
Neglect is a negligent act or omission by any individual which caused or which may have caused physical or emotional injury or death to a person or placed a person at risk of physical or emotional injury or death.
What is Exploitation?
The illegal or improper act or process of using a person or the resources of a person for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain.
As an employee, you should:
- Report knowledge/suspicion to DFPS immediately, if possible, but in no case no more than one hour after knowledge/suspicion to DFPS toll-free number at 1-800-647-7418 (for ICF-MR also call 1-800-292-2065) or though the website www.txabusehotline.org
- Preserve and protect any evidence related to the allegation in accordance with instructions from DFPS; and
- Cooperate with the investigator during investigation.
What if I’m not sure?
If you have reason to suspect any abuse, neglect or exploitation but are not positive, call the hotline. They can advise you on whether the signs you have observed are abuse, neglect or exploitation.