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Skagit County Clerk: Melissa Beaton
How Do I get a Protection Order | Who Can I Talk With? | Domestic Violence | Sexual Assault | Vulnerable Adults | Anti-Harassment
Vulnerable Adult/Elder Abuse

What is Vulnerable Adult/Elder Abuse?

  • A vulnerable adult/elder adult who has been the victim of physical harm or fears imminent physical harm or stalking from a
  • family or household member
  • should file for a domestic violence protection order.
  • A vulnerable adult/elder adult who has been abandoned, abused, subject to financial exploitation, or neglect or threat thereof should file for a vulnerable adult protection order.

Types of Elder/Vulnerable Adult Abuse

  • Physical: Nonaccidental use of physical force. It can include assault, inappropriate restraint or overmedication.
  • Sexual: Nonconsensual sexual contact of any kind, including forced or sexual contact with a person who is incapable of exercising consent because of physical or mental impairments.
  • Psychological: Willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation or other verbal or nonverbal abusive conduct. This may involve frightening, humiliating, intimidating, threatening or isolating the abused person. Or, it may involve threatening to place the person in an unfamiliar environment (nursing home or stranger), or threatening harm if he or she does not give the abuser money or property.
  • Financial: Illegal or improper use of an older or vulnerable person's funds, property or resources. This may involve theft, fraud and unfulfilled promises of lifetime care in exchange for assets and limitation on the abused person's access to his or her assets. Older and/or vulnerable adults may be confused and sign documents that are not clearly understood (wills, powers of attorney or other legal documents). Coercing or tricking older or vulnerable adults is abuse. Financial exploitation is one of the most common forms of crime against vulnerable adults and the elderly. When older or vulnerable persons are no longer able to conduct their own business affairs, others begin to sign and cash their welfare, social security or pension checks for their own purpose.
  • Neglect: When a caregiver fails to fulfill his or her responsibilities.

Who is a Vulnerable Adult/Elder?

  • Adults 60 years or older
  • Adults who are found incapacitated by a court (RCW 11.88)
  • Adults who have a developmental disability as defined under RCW 71A.10.020
  • Adults who have been admitted to any facility
  • Adults receiving services from home health, hospice or home care agencies
  • Adults receiving services from an individual provider

What are some indicators of Vulnerable Adult/Elder Abuse?

  • Malnutrition, dehydration, poor person hygiene
  • Withholding drugs or medication or over medicating
  • Untreated physical or mental health problems
  • Inadequate heating or cooling
  • Multiple injuries, burns or bruises (especially with vague explanations) and/or imprint injuries (bruising that keeps the shape of objects such as hand/thumb marks)
  • Illogical explanations of injury
  • Exaggerated defensiveness by caretaker
  • Unwillingness to discuss problems with caretaker or in caretaker's presence
  • Fearful of caretaker but wanted to please caretaker
  • Adequate income - but victim does not have sufficient food, heat, clothing, etc
  • Checks or legal documents clearing even when victim is not even capable of understanding such documents.

Where do I get a Vulnerable Adult Protection Order?

You can get one at the Superior Court of the county where the victim resides. In Skagit County you can get a Protection Order at the County Clerk's Office (link to How to Obtain a Protection Order)

Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders are free.