Title 42
State Affairs and Government

Chapter 66
Office of Healthy Aging

R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-4.1

§ 42-66-4.1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1) “Abuse” means physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or emotional abuse of an elderly person by a caregiver as defined in subsection (5).

(a) “Physical abuse” means the willful infliction of physical pain or injury (e.g. slapping, bruising or restraining) upon an elderly person.

(b) “Sexual abuse” means the infliction of non-consensual sexual contact of any kind upon an elderly person. Sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, rape, sexual misuse or exploitation of an elder, as well as threats of sexual abuse where the perpetrator has the intent and the capacity to carry out the threatened abuse.

(c) “Emotional abuse” means a pattern of willful infliction of mental or emotional harm upon an elder by threat, intimidation, isolation or other abusive conduct.

(2) “Exploitation” means the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized or improper act or process of an individual, including, but not limited to, a caregiver or fiduciary, that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, gain, or that results in depriving an elder of rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets by use of undue influence, harassment, duress, deception, false representation or false pretenses.

(3) “Neglect” means the willful failure by a caregiver or other person with a duty of care to provide goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental harm or mental illness to an elderly person, including, but not limited to, “abandonment” (withdrawal of necessary assistance) and denial of food or health related services.

(4) “Willful” means intentional, conscious and directed toward achieving a purpose.

(5) “Caregiver” means a person who has assumed the responsibility for the care of the elderly person voluntarily, by contract or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or who is otherwise legally responsible for the care of the elderly person.

(6) “Self-neglect” means a pattern of behavior in an elderly person that directly, imminently and significantly threatens his/her own health and/or, safety. Self-neglect includes, but is not limited to, an inability or an incapacity to provide self with food, water, shelter, or safety to the point of establishing imminent risk of any of the harm(s) described in the immediately preceding sentence.

(7) “Protective services” means services and/or action intended to prevent and/or alleviate the abuse, neglect, exploitation or self-neglect of elderly persons. Protective services may include supervision, counseling, and assistance in securing health and supportive services, safe living accommodations and legal intervention.

(8) “Elderly person” or “elder” means any person sixty (60) years of age or older.

History of Section.
P.L. 1979, ch. 132, § 2; P.L. 1980, ch. 287, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 69, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 305, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 242, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 406, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 94, § 2; P.L. 1998, ch. 287, § 2; P.L. 2007, ch. 84, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 209, § 1.