POLICE Department

Family Violence Unit - Elder Abuse

The Houston Police Department cares about you and your safety.   As a community we strive to prevent violence and its consequences to all people, families and communities-so that they are all safe, healthy and free from violence.   Everyone deserves relationships free from violence.

If you are in immediate danger call 9-1-1.  If you are in a non-emergency situation in the city of Houston city limits and need a non-emergency police response dial (713) 884-3131. 
Every year in the United States, one in four women and one in ten men are harmed by intimate partner violence.  Abuse can be used against anyone; however, older adults may be at higher risk.  The National Council on Aging reported in 2021, Nationwide one in every ten adults age 60 and older have experience abuse.

Elder abuse is abuse specific to older adults that can include elements of domestic violence and intimate partner violence.  Domestic violence, intimate partner violence and elder abuse include emotional, physical, financial and sexual abuse.  Intimate partner violence is abuse that happens within the context of a "romantic" intimate relationship and domestic violence includes acts by any family member or household.  It has been estimated that roughly two-thirds of those harming a vulnerable adult are family members, most often the victim's adult child or intimate partner.   

A central component of domestic violence, intimate partner violence and elderly abuse is the abuser use of manipulative tactics, such as physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse to maintain power and control over someone.                          

The Family Violence Unit interacts with Adult Protective Services by investigating elder abuse which is a distinct crime of negligence, exploitation, and physical abuse commonly perpetrated by caregivers.  A common misconception is to presume that elderly victims reporting intimate partner violence and/or domestic violence  become classified into the category of "elder abuse" simply because of their age. The Family Violence Unit does distinguish between the two crimes.        

The Family Violence Unit recognizes that elderly victims of domestic violence have the same needs as the younger victim of domestic violence if not a greater need due to their vulnerability and the barriers they face.  Every victim of domestic violence has the right to safety and assistance.   


Texas Family Code Chapter 71. Definitions, 71.004. Family Violence.  "Family Violence" means:
(1) an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself;
(2) abuse as defined by Sections 261.001, by a member of a family or household towards a child of the family or household;
(3) dating violence, as the term is defined by Section 71.0021.

Texas Penal Code Chapter 22. Assaultive Offenses, 22.04. Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual.
(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission, causes to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual:
(1) serious bodily injury;
(2) serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or
(3) bodily injury.
"Child" means a person 14 years of age or younger.
"Elderly individual" means a person 65 years of age or older.
"Disabled individual" means a person with one or more of the following:

(3) "Disabled individual" means a person:
(A) with one or more of the following:(i) autism spectrum disorder, as defined by Section 1355.001, Insurance Code;(ii) developmental disability, as defined by Section 112.042, Human Resources Code;(iii) intellectual disability, as defined by Section 591.003, Health and Safety Code;(iv) severe emotional disturbance, as defined by Section 261.001, Family Code;(v) traumatic brain injury, as defined by Section 92.001, Health and Safety Code; or(vi) mental illness, as defined by Section 571.003, Health and Safety Code; or
(B) who otherwise by reason of age or physical or mental disease, defect, or injury is substantially unable to protect the person's self from harm or to provide food, shelter, or medical care for the person's self.

For additional information contact the Houston Police Department's Family Violence Unit 713-308-1100.  

Domestic & Elder Abuse Information and Resources:

National Domestic Violence Hotline

800-799-SAFE (7233)

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)


Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Use this number to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of children, the elderly, or people with disabilities.
24 Hour Hotline

National Center on Elder Abuse

Research, training, resources on elder abuse, neglect and exploitation to professionals and the public.

Houston Health Department


Resources, links to Senior Service.

Harris County Resources for Senior & Disabled Adults


Guardianship Program, Representative Payee Program & Senior Justice Assessment Center