Elder Abuse is a Crime
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota’s Vulnerable Adults Act was originally adopted in 1980; it was substantially revised in 1995 and 2009 and continues to be updated as needed. The law covers several key points: who is considered a vulnerable adult; how maltreatment is defined; who is required to report known or suspected maltreatment; where to report; which agencies must investigate; penalties for committing maltreatment or failing to report; the appeal process when parties involved in the case are not satisfied with its outcome.
Elder Abuse is a Crime and a Civil Litigation Matter
Vulnerable adult laws contains both civil (Minn. Stat. § 626.557) and criminal provisions (Minn. Stat. § 609); this allows the investigation and the penalty to be tailored to fit the specific situation. Reports of suspected maltreatment of a vulnerable adult made to the Common Entry Point (CEP) are investigated civilly by the lead investigative agency (LIA) identified in the VAA; the county social services agency/APS, or the Minnesota Department of Human Services or the Minnesota Department of Health. Reports to the CEP which allege a crime are referred by the CEP to law enforcement for criminal investigation. Law Enforcement is not a Lead Investigative Agency (LIA) for reports of suspected maltreatment made to the CEP. A criminal investigation by law enforcement does NOT take the place of a civil investigation by APS.
If action is not taken when harm is suspected,there is simply nothing to prevent it from happening again to the same person and to others. For every case of elder abuse and neglect that is reported to authorities, experts estimate as many as five cases go unreported. Elder abuse is a crime, report abuse!