The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is revising the hours of operation for the Missouri Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline to 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., 365 days a year, effective September 1, 2021. The Hotline’s former hours of operation were 7:00 a.m. to midnight, 365 days a year. This change will allow the Department to better serve those who need to report concerns of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable individuals 60 and older and people with disabilities between 18 and 59.
During fiscal year 2020, DHSS received and investigated 40,714 community and facility reports of abuse, neglect, bullying, and exploitation, involving seniors and adults with disabilities. That amounts to an average of over 111 reports every day. The number of cases continues to rise, but still vastly understates the extent of the problem as experts believe that for every case of adult abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23 cases go unreported.
In November of 2019, DHSS implemented the Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline online reporting system allowing concerned citizens and mandated reporters to electronically submit reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation in an efficient, secure, and confidential manner on a web-based platform. The online reporting portal is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week and provides an alternative to calling the Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline both during and outside of normal business hours. Since the implementation of online reporting, approximately one-third of all reports are submitted this way. While online reporting has helped to ease the Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline’s call volume demands, additional efforts are still needed to ensure that no call goes unanswered. The new operational hours for the Hotline will allow for increased staffing during times of highest call volume. This will help reduce wait times for those reporting and make it easier to reach a trained intake professional between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Please note that 9-1-1 should be accessed for emergencies as the Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline online reporting system is not intended for emergency response.
If you suspect abuse, neglect or financial exploitation of the elderly or an adult with a disability, you may call the Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline toll-free at (800) 392-0210 or visit www.health.mo.gov/abuse/ to make a report online.
If you have any questions regarding the change in the hours of operation for the Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline, please reach out to the Department at 573/526-3625 or DSDSOfficeofConstituentServices@health.mo.gov.
Public Health: Better Health. Better Missouri.