Elder Abuse Reporting
What is Maine's Law on Elder Abuse Reporting
The Maine Legislature, in enacting the Adult Protective Services Act, officially recognized that some adults, because of incapacitation, dependency, and/or inability to manage finances may be unable to protect themselves from abuse, neglect, or exploitation. For a full statement of legislative intent see 22 MRS §3471. Under Maine law, many adults are required by statute to report knowledge or reasonable suspicion of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. These mandated reporters include many persons working in professional capacities that regularly or sometimes interact with the elderly. Also included are those who assume “full, intermittent or occasional responsibility for the care or custody” of an incapacitated or dependent adult. Administrative personnel in religious institutions and those who assist in the transportation of the elderly may also be required reporters. The statute which discusses mandatory reporting, including a list of the persons who are required to report, is 22 MRS § 3477. According to 22 MRS §3479, even if one is not a mandated reporter, the Adult Protective Services Act allows any person to make a report “when that person has reasonable cause to suspect an incapacitated or dependent adult has been or is at substantial risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation.” This is called optional reporting. Any person who in good faith reports or participates in a related adult protection investigation “is immune from any civil liability that might otherwise result from these actions, including, but not limited to, any civil liability that might otherwise arise under state or local laws or rules regarding confidentiality of information” under 22 MRS §3479-A.
What is abuse?
The Adult Protective Services Act defines abuse as “the infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment that causes or is likely to cause physical harm or pain or mental anguish; sexual abuse or sexual exploitation; financial exploitation; or the intentional, knowing or reckless deprivation of essential needs.” The definition of abuse includes acts and omissions. (22 MRS §3472)
What is neglect?
The Adult Protective Services Act defines neglect as “a threat to an adult's health or welfare by physical or mental injury or impairment, deprivation of essential needs or lack of protection from these.” (22 MRS §3472)
What is exploitation?
The Adult Protective Services Act defines exploitation as “the illegal or improper use of an incapacitated or dependent adult or that adult's resources for another's profit or advantage.” (22 MRS §3472)
11/15/2017 A-Z List