Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 18.2. Crimes and Offenses Generally
Chapter 8. Crimes Involving Morals and Decency
9/30/2022

§ 18.2-369. Abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults; penalties.

A. It is unlawful for any responsible person to abuse or neglect any vulnerable adult. Any responsible person who abuses or neglects a vulnerable adult in violation of this section and the abuse or neglect does not result in serious bodily injury or disease to the vulnerable adult is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any responsible person who is convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this subsection is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

B. Any responsible person who abuses or neglects a vulnerable adult in violation of this section and the abuse or neglect results in serious bodily injury or disease to the vulnerable adult is guilty of a Class 4 felony. Any responsible person who abuses or neglects a vulnerable adult in violation of this section and the abuse or neglect results in the death of the vulnerable adult is guilty of a Class 3 felony.

C. For purposes of this section:

"Abuse" means (i) knowing and willful conduct that causes physical injury or pain or (ii) knowing and willful use of physical restraint, including confinement, as punishment, for convenience or as a substitute for treatment, except where such conduct or physical restraint, including confinement, is a part of care or treatment and is in furtherance of the health and safety of the vulnerable adult.

"Neglect" means the knowing and willful failure by a responsible person to provide treatment, care, goods, or services which results in injury to the health or endangers the safety of a vulnerable adult.

"Responsible person" means a person who has responsibility for the care, custody, or control of a vulnerable adult by operation of law or who has assumed such responsibility voluntarily by contract or in fact.

"Serious bodily injury or disease" includes but is not limited to (i) disfigurement, (ii) a fracture, (iii) a severe burn or laceration, (iv) mutilation, (v) maiming, or (vi) life-threatening internal injuries or conditions, whether or not caused by trauma.

"Vulnerable adult" means any person 18 years of age or older who is impaired by reason of mental illness, intellectual or developmental disability, physical illness or disability, or other causes, including age, to the extent the adult lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make, communicate, or carry out reasonable decisions concerning his well-being or has one or more limitations that substantially impair the adult's ability to independently provide for his daily needs or safeguard his person, property, or legal interests.

D. No responsible person shall be in violation of this section whose conduct was (i) in accordance with the informed consent of the vulnerable adult that was given when he was not vulnerable or a person authorized to consent on his behalf; (ii) in accordance with a declaration by the vulnerable adult under the Health Care Decisions Act (§ 54.1-2981 et seq.) that was given when he was not vulnerable or with the provisions of a valid medical power of attorney; (iii) in accordance with the wishes of the vulnerable adult that were made known when he was not vulnerable or a person authorized to consent on behalf of the vulnerable adult and in accord with the tenets and practices of a church or religious denomination; (iv) incident to necessary movement of, placement of, or protection from harm to the vulnerable adult; or (v) a bona fide, recognized, or approved practice to provide medical care.

1992, c. 551; 1994, c. 620; 2000, c. 796; 2001, c. 181; 2004, c. 863; 2007, cc. 562, 653; 2012, cc. 476, 507; 2019, c. 234; 2022, cc. 259, 642.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.