Who is a dependent adult?
At law in the State of California, a dependent adult is someone between 18 and 64 that has certain mental or physical disabilities that keep him or her from being able to do normal activities or protect himself or herself.
What is dependent adult abuse?
On July 1, 2016, Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610.07 will go into effect and includes abuse of a dependent adult with abuse of an elder.
WIC Section 15610.07 will read: “(a) “Abuse of an elder or a dependent adult” means any of the following: (1) Physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering. (2) The deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering. (3) Financial abuse, as defined in Section 15610.30.”
What should you do if you believe a dependent adult is being abused?
If you want to report elder abuse or dependent adult abuse in the community, contact your local county Adult Protective Services Office . Abuse reports may also be made to your local law enforcement agency.
County APS agencies investigate reports of abuse of dependent adults as well as elders (those over age 65) who live in private homes, apartments, hotels or hospitals . APS staff also provides information and referral to other agencies and educates the public about reporting requirements and responsibilities under the Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Reporting laws.
What if your local APS office is overwhelmed?
Never forget that, if one of your loved ones as a dependent adult in trouble, the law is there to assist you in effecting their rescue from an abusive situation in which they may find themselves. Some possible steps for you to take are to seek legal assistance to enforce the laws prohibiting dependent adult abuse by employing the following legal remedies, as applicable:
- Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Orders are now available, and do not require violence in the home to obtain such an order.
- Domestic Violence Restraining Orders can often be obtained along with a Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order. Whether this is necessary or whether your loved one has been physically abused, in addition to the abuses recited above in WIC Section 15610.07, is a determination to be made in conjunction with counsel, in many cases.
- A conservatorship may become appropriate if the abused dependent adult is unable to make decisions for his or her own benefit. Competent counsel in your local county can assist you and your loved one if this becomes a necessary step.
Abuse of the dependent adults, as well as elders, in our society is becoming more prevalent. We at Hartley, Maxwell & Castellano urge you to never forget that the law is here to protect the weak and the voiceless among us.