What is an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Act order?
This type of order can be obtained as part of a civil action for abuse that can be filed to protect a person who is elderly or disabled and who is being abused. When you file the civil action, the judge can issue an order to prevent further abuse by separating you from the abuser, requiring the abuser to stay away from you, and protecting your financial resources from the abuser. The civil action can also be filed by your guardian or guardian ad litem. The technical name for the order is an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act order (often abbreviated as an “EPPDAPA.”)
What is the legal definition of “abuse” for purposes of getting this order?
For the purpose of this section, Oregon state law defines “abuse” as:
- physical injury or pain;
- neglect that leads to physical harm;
- name-calling, harassment, threats, and inappropriate sexual comments that threaten the emotional or physical wellbeing of the victim;
- taking or threatening to take property or money rightfully belonging to the victim;
- sexual contact with an elderly or disabled person who is unable able to consent; or
- causing any sweepstakes promotions to be mailed an elderly or disabled person when that person spent over $500 on sweepstakes promotions the year before, and court assistance is needed to prevent the person from spending more money.1
1 O.R.S. § 124.005(1)
What is the legal definition of "elderly" for the purpose of getting this order?
The legal definition of an elderly person is someone 65 years and older.1
1 O.R.S .§ 124.005(3)
What is the legal definition of "disabled" for the purpose of getting this order?
For purposes of this restraining order, “a person with a disability” is defined as someone with a physical or mental disability who is eligible for Supplemental Security Income or for general assistance and meets one of the following:
- has a developmental disability, or is mentally or emotionally disturbed and lives in or needs placement in a residential program;
- is an alcohol or drug abuser and lives or needs placement in a residential program;
- has another type of physical or mental disability; or
- is experiencing a brain injury for a long enough time to affect that person’s ability to perform activities of daily living.1
1 O.R.S. §§ 124.005(9); 410.040(7); 410.715
What protections can I get in an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Act order?
In a civil action for abuse, the judge can:
- order the abuser to move out of a jointly owned or rented home (and that a peace officer accompany the abuser while s/he is removing personal property from the shared home);
- order the abuser to stay away from any premises where the victim may be found;
- order the abuser to stop abusing, intimidating, or molesting the victim;
- order the abuser to return custody or control of the money or property of the victim;
- prohibit the abuser from transferring the money or property of the victim to anyone; and/or
- order the abuser to pay the victim’s legal fees.1
1 O.R.S. §§ 124.020(1),(2); 124.015(2)(b)
If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?
When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.
There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:
- The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
- One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
- If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.
However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.
You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.
Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.