Caregiver Neglect Laws
Financial Exploitation Laws
Physical Abuse Laws
Sexual Abuse/Assault Laws
Definitions of terms pertaining to adults with disabilities or elders
Terms used in this chapter mean:
(1) “Adult with a disability,” a person eighteen years of age or older who has a condition of intellectual disability, infirmities of aging as manifested by organic brain damage, advanced age, or other physical dysfunctioning to the extent that the person is unable to protect himself or herself or provide for his or her own care;
(2) “Caretaker,” a person or entity who is entrusted with the property of an elder or adult with a disability, or who is responsible for the health or welfare of an elder or adult with a disability, and who assumes the position of trust or responsibility voluntarily, by contract, by receipt of payment, or by order of the court;
(3) “Elder,” a person sixty-five years of age or older;
(4) “Emotional and psychological abuse,” a caretaker’s willful, malicious, and repeated infliction of:
(a) A sexual act or the simulation of a sexual act directed at and without the consent of the elder or adult with a disability that involves nudity or is obscene;
(b) Unreasonable confinement;
(c) Harm or damage or destruction of the property of an elder or adult with a disability, including harm to or destruction of pets; or
(d) Ridiculing or demeaning conduct, derogatory remarks, verbal harassment, or threats to inflict physical or emotional and psychological abuse, directed at an elder or adult with a disability;
(5) “Exploitation,” the wrongful taking or exercising of control over property of an elder or adult with a disability with intent to defraud the elder or adult with a disability;
(6) “Neglect,” harm to the health or welfare of an elder or an adult with a disability, without reasonable medical justification, caused by a caretaker, within the means available for the elder or adult with a disability, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care; and
(7) “Physical abuse,” physical harm, bodily injury, attempt to cause physical harm or injury, or fear of imminent physical harm or bodily injury.
Source: SL 1986, ch 186, § 1; SL 1990, ch 171, § 1; SL 2005, ch 120, § 339; SL 2007, ch 147, § 1; SL 2013, ch 125, § 4; SL 2016, ch 120, § 1.
Abuse or neglect of elder or adult with disability–felony or misdemeanor
Any person who physically abuses or neglects an elder or adult with a disability in a manner which does not constitute aggravated assault is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
Any person who emotionally or psychologically abuses an elder or adult with a disability is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Source: SL 1986, ch 186, § 2; SL 1990, ch 171, § 2; SL 2005, ch 120, § 341; SL 2007, ch 147, § 3; SL 2016, ch 120, § 2.
Theft by exploitation–Penalty
Any person who, having assumed the duty voluntarily, by written contract, by receipt of payment for care, or by order of a court to provide for the support of an elder or an adult with a disability, and having been entrusted with the property of that elder or adult with a disability, with intent to defraud, appropriates such property to a use or purpose not in the due and lawful execution of that person’s trust, is guilty of theft by exploitation. Theft by exploitation is punishable as theft pursuant to chapter 22-30A.
Source: SL 1986, ch 186, § 3; SL 1989, ch 30, § 53; SL 2005, ch 120, § 342; SL 2007, ch 147, § 4; SL 2016, ch 120, § 21.
State Mandated Reporting
Who has to report?
Any person who is a: Physician; dentist; doctor of osteopathy; chiropractor; optometrist; podiatrist; religious healing practitioner; hospital intern or resident; nurse; paramedic; emergency medical technician; social worker; health care professional; long-term care ombudsman; psychologist; licensed mental health professional; counselor engaged in professional counseling; State, County, or Municipal criminal justice employee or law enforcement officer; who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that an elder or disabled adult has been or is being abused or neglected.
When to report?
Any person required to report by the statute who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect that an elder or disabled adult has been or is being abused or neglected.
How to report?
A report may be made orally or in writing to the state's attorney of the county in which the elder or disabled adult resides or is present, to the Department of Social Services, or to a law enforcement officer.
South Dakota Adult Services & Aging: 605-773-3656