What is Abuse?

What is Abuse?

Abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. The specificity of laws varies from state to state, but broadly defined, abuse may be:

  • Physical Abuse – Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable adult, or depriving them of a basic need.
  • Emotional Abuse – Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on a vulnerable adult through verbal or nonverbal acts.
  • Sexual Abuse – Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.
  • Exploitation – Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder.
  • Neglect – Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care or protection for a vulnerable adult.
  • Abandonment – The desertion of a vulnerable adult by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.

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