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Elder Abuse and the Vulnerable Adult Protection Act

Washington State’s Vulnerable Protection Act provides a legal safeguard for elderly adults, people with disabilities, and other populations that have been identified as vulnerable.

Any adult who is unable to provide for themselves, and requires some type of supportive care, can be considered a vulnerable adult. People over the age of 60, or adults with mental or physical disabilities, who rely on the assistance of a guardian, nursing facility, hospice organization, or other care provider are classified as “vulnerable” under this law.

The act provides specific protections for vulnerable adults that have been subjected to physical, mental, or sexual abuse, as well as neglect, exploitation, and abandonment.

Adult Protective Services (APS) is required to investigate all claims of vulnerable adult abuse, and will work with social services and legal entities to assist the adult. Vulnerable adults and their loved ones can also file for further protections via a Vulnerable Adult Protection Order. Protected individuals are also entitled to sue the abusive party, and the abuser can face criminal charges as well.

Signs of Abuse

If someone in your life receives care services and is considered a vulnerable adult, any changes in behavior or appearance may be signs of abuse.

Contact APS if you identify any of the following signs, or other abnormalities that raise concern:

  • Injuries such as cuts, burns, or bruises
  • Mood changes, including unusual feelings of fear, anxiety, depression, and anger
  • Neglecting health and hygiene
  • Eating more or less, and/or weight gain and loss
  • Financial issues, such as a lack of awareness about their own finances or an absence of resources

If you suspect that a vulnerable adult in your life is being abused, Ridgway Law Group can help. Our team of attorneys is dedicated to protecting the rights of older adults and people with disabilities.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We are available to answer your questions and concerns. Call (206) 855-6420 or use our contact form to request your no-cost case evaluation.