Report Title:

Abuse of Dependent Adults


Changes the definition of "abuse" of dependent adults to require conduct that includes gross neglect, grossly negligent treatment, or wanton acts or omissions in order to constitute abuse.


S.B. NO.









relating to dependent adult protective services.



SECTION 1. Section 346-222, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending the definition of "abuse" to read as follows:

""Abuse" means actual or imminent physical injury, psychological abuse or gross neglect, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, grossly negligent treatment, wanton acts or omissions, or gross maltreatment as further defined in this chapter.

Abuse occurs where:

(1) Any dependent adult exhibits evidence of:

(A) Substantial or multiple skin bruising or any other internal bleeding;

(B) Any injury to skin causing substantial bleeding;

(C) Malnutrition;

(D) A burn or burns;

(E) Poisoning;

(F) The fracture of any bone;

(G) A subdural hematoma;

(H) Soft tissue swelling;

(I) Extreme physical pain; or

(J) Extreme mental distress which includes a consistent pattern of actions or verbalizations including threats, insults, or harassment, that humiliates, provokes, intimidates, confuses, and frightens the dependent adult;

and the injury is not justifiably explained, or where the history given is at variance with the degree or type of injury, or circumstances indicate that the injury is not the product of an accidental occurrence;

(2) Any dependent adult has been the victim of nonconsensual sexual contact or conduct, including but not limited to:

(A) Sexual assault, molestation, sexual fondling, incest, prostitution;

(B) Obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, or depiction; or

(C) Other similar forms of sexual exploitation;

(3) Any dependent adult intentionally, knowingly, or in reckless disregard is not provided, in a timely manner, with adequate food, clothing, shelter, psychological care, physical care, medical care, or supervision;

(4) Any dependent adult is provided with dangerous, harmful, or detrimental drugs as defined by section 712-1240; however, this paragraph shall not apply when such drugs are provided to the dependent adult pursuant to the direction or prescription of a practitioner, as defined in section 712-1240;

(5) There has been [a] an intentional failure, which may include reckless disregard or wanton acts or omissions, to exercise that degree of care toward a dependent adult [which] that a reasonable person with the responsibility of a caregiver would exercise, including, but not limited to, failure to:

(A) Assist in personal hygiene;

(B) Provide necessary food, shelter, and clothing;

(C) Provide necessary health care, access to health care, or prescribed medication;

(D) Protect a dependent adult from health and safety hazards; or

(E) Protect against acts of abuse by third parties;

(6) Any dependent adult appears to lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning the dependent adult's person, and appears to be exposed to a situation or condition [which] that poses an imminent risk of death or risk of serious physical harm; or

(7) There is financial and economic exploitation. For the purpose of this part, "financial and economic exploitation" means the wrongful [or negligent] taking, withholding, misappropriation, or use of a dependent adult's money, real property, or personal property. "Financial and economic exploitation" can include but is not limited to:

(A) Breaches of fiduciary relationships, such as the misuse of a power of attorney or the abuse of guardianship privileges, resulting in the unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of property;

(B) The unauthorized taking of personal assets;

(C) The misappropriation, misuse, or transfer of moneys belonging to the dependent adult from a personal or joint account; or

(D) The intentional or grossly negligent failure to effectively use a dependent adult's income and assets for the necessities required for the person's support and maintenance.

The exploitations may involve coercion, manipulation, threats, intimidation, misrepresentation, or exertion of undue influence."

SECTION 2. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun, before its effective date.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.