Mandatory Reporting

Mandatory Reporting

As a mandatory reporter, you MUST by law make a report if you have reason to believe abuse, abandonment, neglect, or financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult has occurred.

To report abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult in Washington State, call the:

  • Complaint Resolution Unit toll-free hotline at 1-800-562-6078 if the person that you suspect is being abused or neglected is living in a nursing home, boarding home, or adult family home.
  • Local Adult Protective Services (APS) office if the person you suspect is being abused is living in their own home or somewhere other than a residential care facility. Find the APS office in your county. Learn more about what happens after you call APS.

People who are not mandatory reporters are also strongly encouraged to report abuse.  Learn more about reporting abuse if you are not a mandatory reporter.

When You Must Also Call

Law Enforcement

Mandatory reporters must also make a report to law enforcement if they suspect a vulnerable adult has been sexually or physically assaulted, or if they have reasonable cause to believe that an act has caused fear of imminent harm.

Mandatory reporters may not have to make a report to law enforcement for some types of physical assault between two vulnerable adults. For these types of physical assault, see RCW 74.34.035(4).

Medical Examiner or Coroner

Mandatory reporters are also required by law to report a death to the local Medical Examiner or Coroner if there is reason to suspect that the death of a vulnerable adult was caused by abuse.

When You Call

You will be asked to give the person’s name, address, contact information and details about why you are concerned. You will also be asked for your name and number or some way of contacting you if the investigator has follow up questions. Unless there is a court action, law enforcement has been called in, or you agree, your identity is confidential. If you report in good faith, you cannot be held liable for any damages resulting from reporting.


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Law & Ethics for Addiction by Whatcom Community College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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