Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders
If you are over the age of 65 or an adult with a disability, you may be able to file for a vulnerable adult protection order if you are the victim of physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation by a caretaker, family member, or a person who is in a "confidential relationship" with you.* You can also file on behalf of a vulnerable adult if you are the victim’s spouse, relative, household member, caregiver, or fiduciary (a person who has the power to act on behalf of you but must act in good faith and honesty).**
Emotional and psychological abuse includes a caretaker's willful, malicious, and repeated infliction of:
- a sexual act or the simulation of a sexual act directed at you and without your consent that involves nudity or is obscene;
- unreasonable confinement;
- harm or damage or destruction of your property, including harm to or destruction of pets; or
- ridiculing or demeaning conduct, derogatory remarks, verbal harassment, or threats to inflict physical or emotional and psychological abuse.
Exploitation means wrongfully taking or controlling your property with the intent to defraud you.
Neglect is a caretaker’s harm to your health or welfare without a reasonable medical excuse, including the failure to provide you with sufficient food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
Physical abuse means physical harm, bodily injury, the attempt to cause physical harm or injury, or fear of imminent physical harm or bodily injury.*
A petition for a vulnerable adult protection order can be filed in the county where you or the abuser lives.** An ex parte temporary protection order generally lasts for 30 days and a permanent protection order can last up to five years.***
* SDCL § 21-65-1
** SDCL § 21-65-2
*** SDCL § 21-65-8, 21-65-11