Elder Abuse and Elder Financial Exploitation Statutes

The federal government, states, commonwealths, territories and the District of Columbia all have laws designed to protect older adults from elder abuse and guide the practice of adult protective services agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others. These laws vary considerably from state to state.
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Citation Statute
Civil Financial Exploitation
HRS § 346-222  (2016)

DIVISION 1.  GOVERNMENT 

TITLE 20  Social Services 

CHAPTER 346  Department of Human Services 

PART X.  Adult Protective Services

§ 346-222.  Definitions.

"Financial exploitation" means the wrongful taking, withholding, appropriation, or use of a vulnerable adult's money, real property, or personal property, including but not limited to:

      (1) The breach of a fiduciary duty, such as the misuse of a power of attorney or the misuse of guardianship privileges, resulting in the unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of property;

      (2) The unauthorized taking of personal assets;

      (3) The misappropriation or misuse of moneys belonging to the vulnerable adult from a personal or joint account; or

      (4) The failure to effectively use a vulnerable adult's income and assets for the necessities required for the vulnerable adult's support and maintenance, by a person with a duty to expend income and assets on behalf of the vulnerable adult for such purposes.

      Financial exploitation may be accomplished through coercion, manipulation, threats, intimidation, misrepresentation, or exertion of undue influence.


  "Vulnerable adult" means a person eighteen years of age or older who, because of mental, developmental, or physical impairment, is unable to:

      (1) Communicate or make responsible decisions to manage the person's own care or resources;

      (2) Carry out or arrange for essential activities of daily living; or

      (3) Protect oneself from abuse, as defined in this part.

Civil Elder Abuse
HRS §§  346-221 through 346-253 (2017)

HRS § 346-222  (2017)

Division 1.  Government  Title 20  Social Services  Chapter 346  Department of Human Services  Part X.  Adult Protective Services

  "Abuse" means any of the following, separately or in combination:         (1) Physical abuse;         (2) Psychological abuse;         (3) Sexual abuse;         (4) Financial exploitation;         (5) Caregiver neglect; or         (6) Self-neglect;      each as further defined in this chapter. Abuse does not include, and a determination of abuse shall not be based solely on, physical, psychological, or financial conditions that result when a vulnerable adult seeks, or when a caregiver provides or permits to be provided, treatment with the express consent of the vulnerable adult or in accordance with the vulnerable adult's religious or spiritual practices.

   "Caregiver neglect" means the failure of a caregiver to exercise that degree of care for a vulnerable adult that a reasonable person with the responsibility of a caregiver would exercise within the scope of the caregiver's assumed, legal or contractual duties, including but not limited to the failure to:         (1) Assist with personal hygiene;         (2) Protect the vulnerable adult from abandonment;        (3) Provide, in a timely manner, necessary food, shelter, or clothing;         (4) Provide, in a timely manner, necessary health care, access to health care, prescribed medication, psychological care, physical care, or supervision;         (5) Protect the vulnerable adult from dangerous, harmful, or detrimental drugs, as defined in section 712-1240; provided that this paragraph shall not apply to drugs that are provided to the vulnerable adult pursuant to the direction or prescription of a practitioner, as defined in section 712-1240;         (6) Protect the vulnerable adult from health and safety hazards; or         (7) Protect the vulnerable adult from abuse by third parties.

  "Financial exploitation" means the wrongful taking, withholding, appropriation, or use of a vulnerable adult's money, real property, or personal property, including but not limited to:         (1) The breach of a fiduciary duty, such as the misuse of a power of attorney or the misuse of guardianship privileges, resulting in the unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of property;         (2) The unauthorized taking of personal assets;         (3) The misappropriation or misuse of moneys belonging to the vulnerable adult from a personal or joint account; or         (4) The failure to effectively use a vulnerable adult's income and assets for the necessities required for the vulnerable adult's support and maintenance, by a person with a duty to expend income and assets on behalf of the vulnerable adult for such purposes.    Financial exploitation may be accomplished through coercion, manipulation, threats, intimidation, misrepresentation, or exertion of undue influence.

  "Physical abuse" means:          (1) The nonaccidental infliction of physical or bodily injury, pain, or impairment, including but not limited to hitting, slapping, causing burns or bruises, poisoning, or improper physical restraint; or         (2) Causing physical injuries that are not justifiably explained or where the history given for an injury is at variance with the degree or type of injury.

 "Psychological abuse" means the infliction of mental or emotional distress by use of threats, insults, harassment, humiliation, provocation, intimidation, or other means that profoundly confuse or frighten a vulnerable adult.

 "Sexual abuse" means nonconsensual sexual contact or conduct caused by another person, including but not limited to:          (1) Sexual assault, molestation, sexual fondling, incest, or prostitution; or         (2) Pornographic photographing, filming, or depiction.

Criminal Elder Abuse
Haw. Rev. Stat. § 709-905

(1)  A person commits the offense of endangering the welfare of an incompetent person if he knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical or mental welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself because of physical or mental disease, disorder, or defect.

     (2)  Endangering the welfare of an incompetent person is a misdemeanor. [L 1972, c 9, pt of §1]

https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol14_Ch...