WASHINGTON - Adult abuse has reportedly reached record levels in Washington State.
Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed June 2019 "Adult Abuse Awareness Month."
In 2018, Washington State's Adult Protective Services received more than 60,000 reports of adult abuse, KOMO News reports. Those reports include vulnerable adult abandonment, abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and self-neglect.
The number of reports last year is a dramatic increase from the number of reports in 2017, which was 48,000. In 2012, the number of adult abuse reports was a mere 19,000.
“We have an increasing number of vulnerable adults in Washington state,” said Kathy Morgan, APS Director. “Our job is to promote individual choice while offering protective services.”
A vulnerable adult is classified as over 60 years old, who has a physical, function or mental inability to care for themselves. Vulnerable adults can also be adults 18 years old and older that suffer from a developmental disability, those under a legal guardian, and adults who are admitted to a DSHS-licensed facility, or someone who receives at-home services.
“We rely on the public to be our eyes and ears when it comes to vulnerable adult abuse,” Morgan said to KOMO News. “Understanding and identifying the signs of abuse is the first step in protecting people. Many cases go unreported simply because no one realized what was going on. If you’re unsure whether someone is experiencing abuse or neglect, please make a report to APS.”
Adult abuse is classified as neglect and self-neglect, and also financial, physical, sexual and mental abuse. Signs of adult abuse can include lack of adequate food, suspicious financial withdrawals, sudden change in behavior, social isolation and missed or canceled appointments.