Adult Protective Services - Adult Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
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Abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults happens in Maine. Many people are uncomfortable talking about these problems, especially if the abuser is a family member or friend. Help is available if people are aware of the problem and take steps to report it.
Abuse includes actions which result in bodily harm, pain or mental distress.
Examples of abuse are:
- pushing, hitting, shaking, pulling hair
- tying to a bed or chair or locking in a room
- forcing into sexual activity
- giving the wrong medicine or too much medicine on purpose
- denying visits with friends or family
- name calling, harassment or verbal threats.
Neglect is a failure to provide care and services when an adult is unable to care for him or herself. Neglect may be at the hands of someone else or it may be self neglect. Neglect includes failure to provide:
- adequate shelter, clothes or food
- personal care
- medical attention or necessary medication
- necessities such as glasses, dentures, hearing aides, walkers.
Exploitation is the illegal or improper use of an adult’s money or property for another person’s profit or advantage. Examples of exploitation include:
- forcing an adult to change a will or sign over control of assets
- forcing an adult to sell or give away property or possessions
keeping the adult’s pension or social security check.
- Misunderstanding of an adult’s physical or emotional needs or abilities
- Stress because of financial, family, marital or health problems
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Mental illness
- Lack of training or education
- Social isolation
Adult Protective Services is a program within the OADS Aging Services. Its purpose is to provide and arrange for services to protect adults who are unable to protect themselves from abuse, neglect or exploitation. If the person has mental retardation, services are provided by the DHHS/OADS Disability Services.
Any dependent or incapacitated adult who may be in danger of abuse, neglect or exploitation may receive assistance from Adult Protective Services. A dependent adult is a person who has a physical or mental condition that substantially impairs the adult’s ability to adequately provide for their daily needs. An incapacitated adult is a person who lacks sufficient understanding to make or communicate decisions about his or her own person or property. These adults may need someone else to make some or all of their decisions for them.
Clients of Adult Protective Services may include:
- frail or vulnerable elders
- people with mental illness
- those with alcohol or drug abuse problems
- those with medical problems or disabilities.
Maine law states that certain people must report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult if they believe the adult is incapacitated or dependent.
Persons convicted of failing to report may be fined up to $500. If the person is a professional, the court or the Department also will report to that person’s licensing board or accrediting unit.
While acting in a professional capacity:
|Ambulance Attendant||Mental Health Professional|
|Certified Nursing Assistant||Occupational Therapist|
|Dentist||Physician (MD and DO)|
|Emergency Medical Technician||Physician’s Assistant|
|Emergency Room Personnel||Podiatrist|
|Law Enforcement Official||Registered Nurse|
|Licensed Practical Nurse||Social Worker|
|Medical Examiner||Speech Therapist|
|Medical Intern||Unlicensed Assistive Personnel|
Any person who has assumed full, intermittent or occasional responsibility for the care or custody of an incapacitated or dependent adult, whether or not the person receives compensation; or
Any person affiliated with a church or religious institution who serves in an administrative capacity or has otherwise assumed a position of trust or responsibility to the members of that church or religious institution, while acting in that capacity, whether or not the person receives compensation.
Anyone may report suspicion of abuse, neglect or exploitation of a person who is incapacitated or dependent. Making a report is a first step toward providing protection for the adult.
Anyone who makes a report in good faith is protected under the law if someone files a suit in a civil court.
Adult Protective Services maintains confidentiality of reporters except in very limited circumstances.
Give as much information as you can:
- The adult’s name, address and age
- Any known physical or mental impairment
- Nature and extent of the danger to the adult
- Name of the caretaker, if any
- Any other information related to the problem.
- Investigate reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation.
- Arrange services to help make adults safe.
- Arrange services to allow adults the most personal freedom possible.
- Seek guardianship and/or conservatorship of adults who are unable to make decisions for themselves and who have no family or friend able to make these decisions for them.
Guardianship and conservatorship provide protection and care for incapacitated adults. Only a Probate Court can declare an adult to be incapacitated and appoint a guardian or conservator.
The Department of Health and Human Services can provide information and help with guardianship and conservatorship for an incapacitated adult who may be in danger of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Any able and willing adult may be a guardian or conservator. If there is no private individual able and willing to assume the responsibility, then the Department of Health and Human Services may be appointed as public guardian or conservator.
- Learn the facts about adult abuse, neglect and exploitation.
- Report suspected cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation.
- Invite a speaker to your group or club to discuss the issue.
- Share this information with others.
To make a report of abuse, neglect or exploitation of an incapacitated or dependent adult, call
Adult Protective Services at:
Nationwide 24-hour, toll-free
TTY (during business hours) Maine relay 711
Statewide TTY (after hours) 1-800-963-9490
To make a report of abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult
with developmental disability, call OADS Disability Services at:
|Portland Office, Region 1
(York & Cumberland )
|Augusta Office, Region 2
(Kennebec & Somerset)
(Androscoggin, Franklin & Oxford)
(Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc & Waldo)
|Bangor Office Region 3
(Hancock, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Washington)
|Presque Isle Office
For reporting after business hours, call the CRISIS NUMBER at