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
33 V.S.A. § 6902 (2015)

TITLE THIRTY-THREE.  HUMAN SERVICES 

PART 5.  PROGRAMS AND SERVICES FOR VULNERABLE ADULTS 

CHAPTER 69.  REPORTS OF ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND EXPLOITATION OF VULNERABLE ADULTS 

SUBCHAPTER 1.  REPORTS OF ABUSE OF VULNERABLE ADULTS

§ 6902. Definitions

(6) "Exploitation" means:

      (A) Willfully using, withholding, transferring, or disposing of funds or property of a vulnerable adult without or in excess of legal authority for the wrongful profit or advantage of another;

      (B) Acquiring possession or control of or an interest in funds or property of a vulnerable adult through the use of undue influence, harassment, duress, or fraud;

      (C) The act of forcing or compelling a vulnerable adult against his or her will to perform services for the profit or advantage of another;

      (D) Any sexual activity with a vulnerable adult when the vulnerable adult does not consent or when the actor knows or should know that the vulnerable adult is incapable of resisting or declining consent to the sexual activity due to age or disability or due to fear of retribution or hardship, whether or not the actor has actual knowledge of vulnerable status.


(14) "Vulnerable adult" means any person 18 years of age or older who:

      (A) is a resident of a facility required to be licensed under chapter 71 of this title;

      (B) is a resident of a psychiatric hospital or a psychiatric unit of a hospital;

      (C) has been receiving personal care services for more than one month from a home health agency certified by the Vermont Department of Health or from a person or organization that offers, provides, or arranges for personal care; or

      (D) regardless of residence or whether any type of service is received, is impaired due to brain damage, infirmities of aging, or a physical, mental, or developmental disability:

         (i) that results in some impairment of the individual's ability to provide for his or her own care without assistance, including the provision of food, shelter, clothing, health care, supervision, or management of finances; or

         (ii) because of the disability or infirmity, the individual has an impaired ability to protect himself or herself from abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Criminal Financial Exploitation
VT. STAT. ANN. tit. 13, § 1375 (2016)

Title 13: Crimes and Criminal Procedure
Part 1. Crime
Chapter 28: ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND EXPLOITATION OF VULNERABLE ADULTS

§ 1375. Definitions

(8) "Vulnerable adult" means any person 18 years of age or older who:

(A) is a resident of a facility required to be licensed under chapter 71 of Title 33;

(B) is a resident of a psychiatric hospital or a psychiatric unit of a hospital;

(C) has been receiving personal care and services from an agency certified by the Vermont department of aging and independent living or from a person or organization that offers, provides, or arranges for personal care; or

(D) regardless of residence or whether any type of service is received, is impaired due to brain damage, infirmities of aging, or a physical, mental, or developmental disability that results in some impairment of the individual's ability to:

(i) provide for his or her own care without assistance, including the provision of food, shelter, clothing, health care, supervision, or management of finances; or

(ii) protect himself or herself from abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Criminal Financial Exploitation
VT. STAT. ANN. tit. 13, § 1380 (2016)

 
Title 13: Crimes and Criminal Procedure

Part 1. Crimes

Chapter 28: ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND EXPLOITATION OF VULNERABLE ADULTS

§ 1380. Financial exploitation

(a) No person shall willfully use, withhold, transfer, or dispose of funds or property of a vulnerable adult, without or in excess of legal authority, for wrongful profit or advantage. No person shall willfully acquire possession or control of or an interest in funds or property of a vulnerable adult through the use of undue influence, harassment, duress, or fraud.

(b) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section, and exploits money, funds, or property of no more than $ 500.00 in value, shall be imprisoned not more than 18 months or fined not more than $ 10,000.00, or both.

(c) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section, and exploits money, funds, or property in excess of $ 500.00 in value, shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years or fined not more than $ 10,000.00, or both.

Civil Elder Abuse
33 V.S.A. §§ 6901 through 6964 (2018)

33 V.S.A. § 6902 (2018)

TITLE THIRTY-THREE.  HUMAN SERVICES  PART 5.  PROGRAMS AND SERVICES FOR VULNERABLE ADULTS  CHAPTER 69.  REPORTS OF ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND EXPLOITATION OF VULNERABLE ADULTS  SUBCHAPTER 1.  REPORTS OF ABUSE OF VULNERABLE ADULTS

(1) "Abuse" means:      (A) Any treatment of a vulnerable adult which places life, health, or welfare in jeopardy or which is likely to result in impairment of health.      (B) Any conduct committed with an intent or reckless disregard that such conduct is likely to cause unnecessary harm, unnecessary pain, or unnecessary suffering to a vulnerable adult.      (C) Unnecessary or unlawful confinement or unnecessary or unlawful restraint of a vulnerable adult.      (D) Any sexual activity with a vulnerable adult by a caregiver who volunteers for or is paid by a caregiving facility or program. This definition shall not apply to a consensual relationship between a vulnerable adult and a spouse, nor to a consensual relationship between a vulnerable adult and a caregiver hired, supervised, and directed by the vulnerable adult.      (E) Intentionally subjecting a vulnerable adult to behavior which should reasonably be expected to result in intimidation, fear, humiliation, degradation, agitation, disorientation, or other forms of serious emotional distress.      (F) Administration, or threatened administration, of a drug, substance, or preparation to a vulnerable adult for a purpose other than legitimate and lawful medical or therapeutic treatment.

  (6) "Exploitation" means:      (A) willfully using, withholding, transferring, or disposing of funds or property of a vulnerable adult without or in excess of legal authority for the wrongful profit or advantage of another;      (B) acquiring possession or control of or an interest in funds or property of a vulnerable adult through the use of undue influence, harassment, duress, or fraud;      (C) the act of forcing or compelling a vulnerable adult against his or her will to perform services for the profit or advantage of another;      (D) any sexual activity with a vulnerable adult when the vulnerable adult does not consent or when the actor knows or should know that the vulnerable adult is incapable of resisting or declining consent to the sexual activity due to age or disability or due to fear of retribution or hardship, whether or not the actor has actual knowledge of vulnerable status.

   (7) (A) "Neglect" means purposeful or reckless failure or omission by a caregiver to:         (i) provide care or arrange for goods or services necessary to maintain the health or safety of a vulnerable adult, including food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, and medical services, unless the caregiver is acting pursuant to the wishes of the vulnerable adult or his or her representative, or an advance directive, as defined in 18 V.S.A. § 9701;         (ii) make a reasonable effort, in accordance with the authority granted the caregiver, to protect a vulnerable adult from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by others;         (iii) carry out a plan of care for a vulnerable adult when such failure results in or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or psychological harm or a substantial risk of death to the vulnerable adult, unless the caregiver is acting pursuant to the wishes of the vulnerable adult or his or her representative, or advance directive, as defined in 18 V.S.A. § 9701; or         (iv) report significant changes in the health status of a vulnerable adult to a physician, nurse, or immediate supervisor, when the caregiver is employed by an organization that offers, provides or arranges for personal care.      (B) Neglect may be repeated conduct or a single incident which has resulted in or could be expected to result in physical or psychological harm, as a result of subdivisions (A)(i), (ii), or (iii) of this subdivision (7).

Civil Elder Abuse
33 V.S.A. §§ 6901 through 6964 (2018)

33 V.S.A. § 6951 (2018)

TITLE THIRTY-THREE.  HUMAN SERVICES  PART 5.  PROGRAMS AND SERVICES FOR VULNERABLE ADULTS  CHAPTER 69.  REPORTS OF ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND EXPLOITATION OF VULNERABLE ADULTS SUBCHAPTER 3.  PROTECTING AGAINST FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION

(3) "Financial exploitation" means:      (A) using, withholding, transferring, or disposing of funds or property of a vulnerable adult, without or in excess of legal authority, for the wrongful profit or advantage of another;      (B) acquiring possession or control of or an interest in funds or property of a vulnerable adult through the use of undue influence, harassment, duress, or fraud; or      (C) the act of forcing or compelling a vulnerable adult against his or her will to perform services for the profit or financial advantage of another.

Criminal Elder Abuse
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13 § 1377

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, no person shall knowingly or recklessly:

(1) cause or threaten to cause unnecessary or unlawful confinement or unnecessary or unlawful restraint of a vulnerable adult; or

(2) administer or threaten to administer a drug, a substance, or electroconvulsive therapy to a vulnerable adult.

(b) This section shall not apply if the confinement, restraint, administration, or threat is:

(1) part of a legitimate and lawful medical or therapeutic treatment; or

(2) lawful and reasonably necessary to protect the safety of the vulnerable adult or others, provided that less intrusive alternatives have been attempted if doing so would be reasonable under the circumstances.

(c) A person who violates this section shall:

(1) be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

(2) if the violation causes bodily injury, be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

(3) if the violation causes serious bodily injury, be imprisoned not more than 15 years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both. (Added 2005, No. 79, § 2.)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13 § 1376

(a) A person who engages in conduct with an intent or reckless disregard that the conduct is likely to cause unnecessary harm, unnecessary pain, or unnecessary suffering to a vulnerable adult shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(b) A person who commits an assault, as defined in section 1023 of this title, with actual or constructive knowledge that the victim is a vulnerable adult, shall be imprisoned for not more than two years or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both.

(c) A person who commits an aggravated assault as defined in subdivision 1024(a)(1) or (2) of this title with actual or constructive knowledge that the victim is a vulnerable adult shall be imprisoned not more than 20 years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both. (Added 2005, No. 79, § 2.)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13 § 1375

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Bodily injury" means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.

(2) "Caregiver" means:

(A) a person, agency, facility, or other organization with responsibility for providing subsistence, health, or other care to a vulnerable adult, who has assumed the responsibility voluntarily, by contract, or by an order of the court; or

(B) a person providing care, including health care, custodial care, personal care, mental health services, rehabilitative services, or any other kind of care which is required because of another's age or disability.

(3) "Lewd and lascivious conduct" means any lewd or lascivious act upon or with the body, or any part or member thereof, of a vulnerable adult, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of the person or the vulnerable adult.

(4) "Neglect" means intentional or reckless failure or omission by a caregiver to:

(A)(i) provide care or arrange for goods, services, or living conditions necessary to maintain the health or safety of a vulnerable adult, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, and medical services, unless the caregiver is acting pursuant to the wishes of the vulnerable adult or his or her representative, or an advanced directive as defined in chapter 111 of Title 18; or

(ii) make a reasonable effort, in accordance with the authority granted the caregiver, to protect a vulnerable adult from abuse, neglect or exploitation by others.

(B) Neglect may be repeated conduct or a single incident which has resulted in or could be expected to result in physical or psychological harm, as a result of subdivisions (A)(i) or (ii) of this subdivision (4).

(5) "Serious bodily injury" shall have the same meaning as in subdivision 1021(2) of this title.

(6) "Sexual act" means conduct between persons consisting of contact between the penis and the vulva, the penis and the anus, the mouth and the penis, the mouth and the vulva, or any intrusion, however slight, by any part of a person's body or any object into the genital or anal opening of another.

(7) "Sexual activity" means a sexual act, other than appropriate health care or personal hygiene, or lewd and lascivious conduct.

(8) "Vulnerable adult" means any person 18 years of age or older who:

(A) is a resident of a facility required to be licensed under chapter 71 of Title 33;

(B) is a resident of a psychiatric hospital or a psychiatric unit of a hospital;

(C) has been receiving personal care and services from an agency certified by the Vermont department of aging and independent living or from a person or organization that offers, provides, or arranges for personal care; or

(D) regardless of residence or whether any type of service is received, is impaired due to brain damage, infirmities of aging, or a physical, mental, or developmental disability that results in some impairment of the individual's ability to:

(i) provide for his or her own care without assistance, including the provision of food, shelter, clothing, health care, supervision, or management of finances; or

(ii) protect himself or herself from abuse, neglect, or exploitation. (Added 2005, No. 79, § 2; amended 2005, No. 192 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. May 26, 2006.)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13 § 1381

Any person who willfully forces or compels a vulnerable adult against his or her will to perform services for the profit or advantage of another shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both. (Added 2005, No. 79, § 2.)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13 § 1380

(a) No person shall willfully use, withhold, transfer, or dispose of funds or property of a vulnerable adult, without or in excess of legal authority, for wrongful profit or advantage. No person shall willfully acquire possession or control of or an interest in funds or property of a vulnerable adult through the use of undue influence, harassment, duress, or fraud.

(b) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section, and exploits money, funds, or property of no more than $500.00 in value, shall be imprisoned not more than 18 months or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

(c) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section, and exploits money, funds, or property in excess of $500.00 in value, shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both. (Added 2005, No. 79, § 2.)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13 § 1378

(a) A caregiver who intentionally or recklessly neglects a vulnerable adult shall be imprisoned not more than 18 months or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

(b) A caregiver who violates subsection (a) of this section, and as a result of such neglect, serious bodily injury occurs to the vulnerable adult, shall be imprisoned not more than 15 years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both. (Added 2005, No. 79, § 2.)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13 § 1379

(a) A person who volunteers for or is paid by a caregiving facility or program shall not engage in any sexual activity with a vulnerable adult. It shall be an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this subsection that the sexual activity was consensual between the vulnerable adult and a caregiver who was hired, supervised, and directed by the vulnerable adult. A person who violates this subsection shall be imprisoned for not more than two years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

(b) No person, whether or not the person has actual knowledge of the victim's vulnerable status, shall engage in sexual activity with a vulnerable adult if:

(1) the vulnerable adult does not consent to the sexual activity; or

(2) the person knows or should know that the vulnerable adult is incapable of resisting, declining, or consenting to the sexual activity due to his or her specific vulnerability or due to fear of retribution or hardship.

(c) A person who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be:

(1) imprisoned for not more than five years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both, if the sexual activity involves lewd and lascivious conduct;

(2) imprisoned for not more than 20 years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both, if the sexual activity involves a sexual act.

(d) A caregiver who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be:

(1) imprisoned for not more than seven years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both, if the sexual activity involves lewd and lascivious conduct.

(2) imprisoned for not more than 25 years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both, if the sexual activity involves a sexual act. (Added 2005, No. 79, § 2.)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/1...