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Know the Laws: Washington

UPDATED September 21, 2017

Vulnerable Adult Protection Order

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A vulnerable adult protection order is a civil court order that provides protection for a vulnerable adult who is a victim of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or the threat of any of those actions.

Getting the order

back to topWho can file for a vulnerable adult protection order?

You can file the order yourself if you are a vulnerable adult.  You can also file on behalf of a vulnerable adult if you are:

  • the vulnerable adult’s guardian or legal fiduciary; or
  • an “interested person.”*

The Department of Social and Health Services may also file for an order on behalf of a vulnerable adult.**

* R.C.W. § 74.34.110(1)
** R.C.W. § 74.34.150

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back to topWhat is the legal definition of an interested person?

You can file on behalf of a vulnerable adult if you are “an interested person.”  An interested person is a person who shows the judge that:

  • s/he is interested in the welfare of the vulnerable adult;
  • s/he has a good faith belief that the court's intervention is necessary; and
  • the vulnerable adult is unable, due to incapacity, undue influence, or duress at the time the petition is filed, to protect his/her own interests.*

* R.C.W. § 74.34.020(12)

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back to topWhat are the steps to get a vulnerable adult protection order?

The steps for getting a vulnerable adult protection order are similar to the steps involved with obtaining a domestic violence order for protection.  The instructions may be similar to the order for protection petition, but you will fill out a different set of forms.

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back to topHow can a vulnerable adult protection order protect the vulnerable adult?

Through a vulnerable adult protection order, the judge can order that the abuser:

  • not commit acts of abandonment, abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation against the vulnerable adult;
  • stay away from the vulnerable adult's residence for a specified period or until further order of the court;
  • not contact the vulnerable adult for a specified period or until further order of the court;
  • not knowingly come or remain within a certain distance from a specific location;
  • provide an accounting of the use of the vulnerable adult's income or other resources;
  • not transfer his/her property or the vulnerable adult’s property for a specific period of time not longer than 90 days; and
  • pay a filing fee and court costs, including service fees, and reimburse the petitioner (the person who filed for the order) for costs of starting the court case, including reasonable attorney’s fees.*

* R.C.W. § 74.34.130

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