Cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of
vulnerable adults shall be handled in accordance
with state law and the procedures outlined herein.
A. Abuse: Any of the following, separately or
in combination: physical abuse, psychological abuse,
sexual abuse, financial exploitation, caregiver neglect,
or self-neglect as further defined in Section 346-222,
Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS).
B. Vulnerable adult: A person eighteen years of
age or older who, because of mental, developmental, or
physical impairment, is unable to:
1. Communicate or make responsible decisions to
manage the person’s own care or resources;
2. Carry out or arrange for essential activities of daily living; or
3. Protect oneself from abuse.
A. Initial Investigation
1. When a report of vulnerable adult abuse
is received, a beat officer shall be assigned to
conduct the initial investigation.
2. The officer shall investigate and prepare a written report.
3. The case shall be classified according to
the applicable criminal act, e.g., abuse of family
or household member, sexual assault, etc.
If no other underlying criminal offense exists, the
case may be classified as endangering the welfare of
an incompetent person when the perpetrator “acts in
a manner likely to be injurious to the physical or
mental welfare of a person who is unable to care for
himself because of physical or mental disease, disorder,
or defect” (see Section 709-906, HRS).
B. When a case remains open after the initial
investigation, it shall be forwarded in the Case Report
System to the appropriate investigative detail. Refer
to Policy 4.29, CRIME SCENE: INVESTIGATIVE RESPONSIBILITIES
A. As required by Section 346 224, HRS, the
initial officer shall telephonically report all
cases of actual or suspected abuse to the Adult
Protective Services (APS), Hawaii Department of
Human Services, at the number listed on the attachment.
B. The officer making the telephonic notification
shall provide the following information to the APS:
police report number; case classification; name of
victim; why the victim is a vulnerable adult (e.g.,
bedridden or a person with an intellectual disability);
the suspected perpetrator’s name, address, and telephone
number; and the same information (if available) for the reporting person.
C. The officer making the telephonic notification
to the APS shall also document the circumstances of the
notification to the APS in his or her written report,
i.e., the date, time, person contacted, and the response from the APS.
POLICE ASSISTANCE IN RIGHT OF ENTRY
A. Under Section 346-229, HRS, an APS employee
engaged in a vulnerable adult abuse investigation is
authorized to visit and communicate with the vulnerable
adult. Any person who intentionally or knowingly
obstructs or interferes with the APS employee’s access
or communication with the vulnerable adult is in violation of this section.
An officer who has probable cause may enforce this section with an arrest.
B. Also under Section 346-229, HRS, if an APS
worker engaged in an investigation has probable cause
to believe that a vulnerable adult will be physically
injured through abuse before a court order can be
obtained, the APS employee may, without a warrant,
enter the premises where the vulnerable adult may be
found to ascertain that person’s welfare.
1. Where a warrantless entry is authorized under
Section 346-229, HRS, the APS employee may request the
assistance of a police officer to gain entrance to the premises.
2. In a case of this sort, the supervisor at the
scene shall make a determination about the type and
degree of force necessary to effect entry. This
determination must be based on the totality of the
circumstances, including the threat to the life of
the vulnerable adult.
3. If appropriate, the officer may recommend
that the APS employee obtain the services of a
locksmith in order to avoid property damage and
trauma to the vulnerable adult.