Elder & Vulnerable Adult Abuse

Abuse means the willful action or inaction that causes injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, neglect or punishment of a vulnerable adult. In instances of abuse of a vulnerable adult who is unable to express or demonstrate physical harm, neglect, pain or mental anguish, the abuse is presumed to cause physical harm, pain or mental anguish.

Abuse includes neglect, sexual abuse, mental abuse, physical abuse and exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Washington State Law Definition of Elder/Vulnerable Adults


  • 60 years of age or older who has the functional, mental, or physical inability to care for himself or herself; or
  • Found incapacitated under chapter 11.88 RCW; or
  • Who has a developmental disability as defined under RCW 71A.10.020; or
  • Admitted to any facility; or
  • Receiving services from home health, hospice, or home care agencies licensed or required to be licensed; or
  • Receiving services from an individual provider.