Vulnerable Adults and Elder Abuse
All citizens have a responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Wyoming state law (WS 14-3-205 & 35-20-103) mandates that any person who suspects child/vulnerable adult abuse, neglect or exploitation is required to report regardless of their profession.
As abuse/neglect/exploitation occurs regardless of sexual orientation, ethnic background, age, religion, disability, or gender reporting is a 24-hour obligation.
Warning Signs of Elder Abuse and Vulnberable Adult Abuse
Physical Abuse- slap marks, unexplained bruises, most pressure marks, and certain types of burns or blisters, such as cigarette burns.
Neglect- Pressure ulcers, filth, lack of medical care, malnutrition or dehydration.
Emotional Abuse- Withdrawal from normal activites, unexplained changes in alertness or other unusual behavioral changes.
Sexual Abuse- Bruises around the breasts or genital area and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases.
Financial Abuse/Exploitation- Sudden change in finances and accounts, altered wills and trusts, unusual bank withdrawals, checks written as "loans" or "gifts", and loss of property.
What You Should You Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse?
Report Your Concerns
Most cases of elder abuse go undetected. Don't assume that someone has already reported a suspicious situation.
To report suspected abuse in the community contact your local adult protective services agency which can be found here.
If you or someone you know is in a life threatening situation or immediate danger, contact 911 or the local police or sheriff.
Albany County Adult Protective Services 307.745.7324
Laramie Police/Sheriff Dispatch 307.721.2526
Will the Vulnerable Person Be Taken Away From the Home If You Report?
Only if the person is at risk of serious harm will she or he be taken away from the home. Removing the person from the home is not routine or usual occurrence. Even if the person must be removed, the goal is to keep the family together. In Wyoming, the Department of Family Services cannot remove an alleged victim of abuse/neglect/exploitation from their home. Only law enforcement, the courts or medical personnel like doctors have that authority.
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