Disabled & Elderly
Chapter 315 Florida Statutes is designed to protect against abuse or neglect of an elderly or disabled adult. It is intended to detect and correct abuse, neglect, and exploitation and establish a program of protective services.
Vulnerable or disabled adult means a person 18 years of age or older whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care or protection is impaired due to a mental, emotional, sensory, long-term physical, or developmental disability or dysfunction, or brain damage, or the infirmities of aging.
Abuse means any willful act or threatened act by a relative, caregiver, or household member that causes or is likely to cause significant impairment to a vulnerable adult’s physical, mental, or emotional health. Abuse includes acts and omissions.
Neglect means the failure on the part of the caregiver of a vulnerable adult to provide the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the vulnerable adult, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, and medical services. The term “neglect” also means the failure of a caregiver to make a reasonable effort to protect a vulnerable adult from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by others. “Neglect” can be repeated conduct or a single incident of carelessness that produces or could reasonably be expected to result in serious physical or psychological injury or a substantial risk of death.
Exploitation happens when a person who is in a position of trust and confidence with a vulnerable adult obtains or uses the vulnerable adult’s funds, assets or property for the benefit of someone other than the vulnerable adult.
The list of mandated reporters of suspicion of abuse, neglect or exploitation is lengthy and includes licensed mental health professionals, among others. When we suspect abuse, we must report it to the Florida Central Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96 ABUSE. If the suspected is a police matter, the abuse hotline will notify law enforcement. In Florida, ALL CALLS OF ABUSE, NEGLECT OR EXPLOITATION ARE MADE TO ONE CENTRAL ABUSE HOTLINE NUMBER: 1-800-96-ABUSE, regardless of age of the alleged victim.