Legal Mandate and Definitions of Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation

Legal Mandate of APS

The mandate for providing protective services to adults is placed with local departments of social services (LDSS) by the Code of Virginia (§§ 63.2-1603 through 63.2-1610) and by the State Board of Social Services. §63.2-1605 of the Code of Virginia mandates that each local board, to the extent that federal or state matching funds are made available to each locality, shall provide, subject to supervision of the Commissioner and in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board, adult protective services for adults who are found to be abused, neglected or exploited and who meet one of the following criteria: (i) the adult is 60 years of age or older or, (ii) the adult is 18 years or age and incapacitated. The requirement to provide such services shall not limit the right of any individual to refuse to accept any of the services so offered, except as provided in §63.2-1608.


Adult Abuse

(i) Knowing and willful conduct that causes physical injury or pain or (ii) knowing and willful use of physical restraint, including confinement, as punishment, for convenience or as a substitute for treatment, except where such conduct or physical restraint, including confinement, is a part of care or treatment and is in furtherance of the health and safety of the incapacitated person (§18.2-369 of the Code of Virginia). The willful infliction of physical pain, injury, mental anguish, or unreasonable confinement of an adult (§ 63.2-100 of the Code of Virginia). Note: this definition appears in the criminal section of the Code of Virginia.

Adult Neglect

A condition in which an adult is living under such circumstances that he is not able to provide for himself or is not being provided services 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. However, no adult shall be considered neglected solely on the basis that such adult is receiving religious nonmedical treatment or religious nonmedical nursing care in lieu of medical care, provided that such treatment or care is performed in good faith and in accordance with the religious practices of the adult and there is a written or oral expression of consent by that adult (§63.2-100 of the Code of Virginia).

Adult Exploitation

The illegal use of an incapacitated adult or his resources for another’s profit or advantage (§63.2-100 of the Code of Virginia).