Adult Abuse, Neglect, & Exploitation

Filing an APS Report
An APS report is an allegation by any person to a local Department of Social Services or to the 24-hour toll-free APS hotline (1-888-83ADULT) that an elder or an incapacitated adult is in need of protective services. Certain persons are required by Code of Virginia, § 63.2-1606, to file a report with the local department of social services when the person has reason to suspect that an elder or an adult with disabilities is abused, neglected, or exploited.

Abuse is defined by the Code of Virginia, § 63.2-100, as "the willful infliction of physical pain, injury or mental anguish or unreasonable confinement." Abuse includes battery and other forms of physical violence including, but not limited to, hitting, kicking, burning, choking, scratching, rough-handling, cutting, biting, etc.

It includes sexual assault, inflicting pornography, voyeurism, exhibitionism, and other forms of forced sexual activity on an elder or an adult with disabilities. It includes any sexual activity with an adult who is unable to understand or give consent. It includes the control of an adult through the use of threats and intimidation and through the abuse of a relationship of trust.

Neglect is defined by the Code of Virginia, § 63.2-100, as "an adult living under such circumstance that he is not able to provide for himself or is not being provided such services as are necessary to maintain his physical and mental health and that the failure to receive such necessary services impairs or threatens to impair his well-being." This definition incorporates both those who are self-neglected, i.e., living under such circumstance that he/she is not able to provide for himself/herself, and those whose need for physical and mental health services are not being provided by another person.

Indicators of neglect include, but are not limited to, malnourishment, dehydration, the presence of pressure sores, inadequate personal hygiene, inadequate and/or inappropriate clothing, inadequate or inappropriate supervision, extreme filth of person or home, severe pest/rodent infestation, offensive odors, inadequate heat, no fuel, no electricity, no refrigerator, or untreated physical or mental health problems. Abandonment is also a form of neglect.

Exploitation is defined by the Code of Virginia, § 63.2-100, as "the illegal use of an incapacitated adult or his resources for another's profit or advantage." Exploitation, or financial abuse, is accomplished by the use of covert, subtle, and deceitful means. It is usually a pattern of behavior rather than a single episode.

Financial exploitation includes, but is not limited to, the crimes of larceny, embezzlement, theft by false pretenses, burglary, forgery, false impersonation, and extortion. Indicators that a person is being financially exploited may include, but is not limited to:
  • A power of attorney is executed by a confused older person
  • Activity in that adult's bank account that is erratic, unusual, or uncharacteristic of that person
  • Change in the older person's property titles, will, or other documents, particularly if the person is confused and/or the documents favor new acquaintances
  • Documents and/or property is missing
  • New acquaintances have taken up residence in the older person's home
  • The elder's mail has been redirected to a different address
  • The older person is being evicted and believes he/she owns the house
  • The person's automatic teller card is used and the account owner is unable to use the card