Arizona Attorney General

Mark Brnovich

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What Happens To The Victim If Abuse, Neglect (Self or Other) Or Exploitation Is Found?

If the report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation is substantiated, several things will happen. If the client is in immediate harm, the APS staff will contact the police, paramedics, or other emergency personnel immediately. If the allegations are substantiated and the client is not in immediate harm and if they have the capacity to make or communicate informed decisions, they may then decide to accept or refuse services provided by APS. If the client refuses assistance, the client may continue to live in conditions that are considered unsafe. However, if the client accepts the services offered, they will be removed from the harmful conditions and guided through the necessary steps for their particular case.

Substantiated does not mean conviction or absolute finding of guilt. Substantiated does mean probable cause that either (or both) offering of services or further law enforcement investigation is warranted.

If the allegations are substantiated and APS finds, based on medical and/or psychological evaluations, that the client lacks capacity to make or communicate informed decisions, then APS will initiate the appointment of a guardian/conservator. Once a guardian/conservator is appointed, the guardian/conservator will make decisions as to placement. APS will attempt to arrange for the provision of necessary services until the time of the appointment.

It is important to remember that in finding solutions for abused, neglected or exploited adults, Adult Protective Services strives to find assistance that allows the adult to remain in the least restrictive setting, in his/her own residence if possible and to maintain the highest degree of self-sufficiency. The perpetrators convince many victims that if the "state government" gets involved, the client will be placed in the state’s custody and the client will end up in a nursing home. The "state" does not take custody of adults, nor does APS have the authority to place a competent client in a nursing home.

A list of community resources that might help the client to remain independent is included in this manual.