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VPA - A Family Guide to the Vulnerable Persons Act


Protection from Abuse or Neglect

The Vulnerable Persons Act requires by law that service providers and substitute decision makers, must report abuse or neglect, or suspicion of abuse or neglect of the vulnerable persons they support. They make this report to the Department of Family services. Family members, friends, and the public are encouraged to report any suspicion as well but are not required by law to do so.

It is important to note that you need only report your knowledge or suspicions — Family Services will investigate and determine whether or not there has been abuse or neglect. There are many ways to report abuse or suspected abuse — to service providers, to Family Services, or directly to the police.

What is Abuse?

Abuse is about someone misusing their power over someone else. Abuse may be intentional or non-intentional, and can be a combination of actions. Any act of abuse causes harm to the victim. It is important to recognize the range of actions that are considered abusive.

There are five types of abuse:

  1. Physical
  2. Sexual
  3. Mental
  4. Emotional
  5. Financial

What is neglect?

Neglect is failing to provide basic needs. It can be either intentional or non-intentional. Even if the service provider does not understand the needs of the individual, if they fail to provide them they are being neglectful.