Aggravated Abuse of a Disabled Adult is a first-degree felony. It is defined the act willfully torturing, maliciously punishing, or willfully and unlawfully caging a disabled adult; or knowingly or willfully abusing a disabled adult and in so doing causes great bodily harm, a permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to disabled adult.
Sexual activity between a provider and a person with a developmental disability (to whom services are provided) is unethical and crime, regardless of whether or not consent was first obtained from the victim. Sexual activity is described as:
- Fondling the genital area, groin, inner thighs, buttocks, or breasts of a person.
- The oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by or union with the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object.
- Intentionally touching in a lewd or lascivious manner the breasts, genitals, the genital area, or buttocks, or the clothing covering them, of a person, or forcing or enticing a person to touch the perpetrator.
- Intentionally masturbating in the presence of another person.
- Intentionally exposing the genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner in the presence of another person.
- Intentionally committing any other sexual act that does not involve actual physical or sexual contact with the victim, including, but not limited to, sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, or the simulation of any act involving sexual activity in the presence of a victim.
Persons with developmental disabilities shall have a right to dignity, privacy, and humane care, including the right to be free from abuse, including sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Confirmed cases of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or sexual misconduct by service providers will result in immediate termination of the waiver enrollment status of the individual who committed the abuse, neglect, exploitation, or sexual misconduct. Known or suspected sexual abuse between two individuals with developmental disabilities must also be reported immediately to the Central Abuse Hotline and the APD Area Office. Abuse is defined as any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual injury or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. Neglect is defined as the deprivation of a child of necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment or a child is permitted to live in an environment when such deprivation or environment causes the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired or to be in danger of being significantly impaired. Neglect of abuse is defined as failure or omission on the part of the caregiver or vulnerable adult to provide the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the vulnerable adult, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, and medical services, which a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of a vulnerable adult. Exploitation is defined as standing in a position of trust and confidence with a vulnerable adult and knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtaining or using, to obtain or use, a vulnerable adult’s funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive a vulnerable adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property for the benefit of someone other than the vulnerable adult; or knowing that the vulnerable adult cannot consent, and obtaining or using, to obtain or use, the vulnerable adult’s funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the vulnerable adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property for the benefit of someone other than the vulnerable adult.
Helpful Home Services requires all providers to report any knowledge or suspicion that a person with a developmental disability is being abused, neglected, or exploited by a relative, caregiver, or household member. Providers must call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE, send a fax to 1-800-914-0004, or report online at https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us. Providers are required to sign an Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation Reporting Procedures form as part of their initial package.