Crimes Against the Protected Person

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This page describes crimes that are commonly committed against protected persons and other vulnerable adults. Sometimes a single act can be several different crimes. The guardian and conservator have a responsibility to safeguard the protected person from these and other crimes. If you suspect that the protected person has been the victim of a crime, report it to the proper authorities and to the court.


Reporting abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult

Utah Code Section 76-5-111.1.

If you have reason to believe that the protected person has been abused, neglected or exploited you must immediately notify the nearest peace officer, law enforcement agency, or Adult Protective Services. You are immune from civil and criminal liability if you make that report in good faith. If you willfully fail to report suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult you may be guilty of a crime.


in Salt Lake County
in all other counties

Emergency Response System:



Abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult

For statutory provisions, see Utah Code Section 76-5-111.

Abuse means:

  • causing physical injury to the protected person;
  • causing or attempting to cause harm to the protected person or placing the protected person in fear of imminent harm;
  • using physical restraint, medication, or isolation that causes harm to the protected person and that conflicts with a physician's orders; or
  • withholding life-sustaining treatment, except with the protected person's informed consent or in a good faith effort to exercise authority under the Advance Health Care Directive Act. See Utah Code Section 75-2a-110.

Examples of abuse include:

  • physical abuse: striking (with or without an object), hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching, and burning; inappropriate use of drugs and physical restraints; force-feeding; and physical punishment;
  • sexual abuse: non-consensual sexual contact of any kind; unwanted touching; all types of sexual assault or battery, such as rape, sodomy, and coerced nudity; and
  • emotional or psychological abuse: infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts; verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment; treating the protected person like an infant; isolating the protected person from his or her family, friends, or regular activities; and enforced social isolation.

Neglect means:

  • failure of a caretaker to provide nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, personal care, or dental or other health care, or failure to provide protection from health and safety hazards or failure to provide protection from maltreatment;
  • failure of a caretaker to provide care that a reasonable person would provide;
  • failure of a caretaker to carry out a prescribed treatment plan that results or could result in injury or harm;
  • a pattern of conduct by a caretaker that deprives the protected person of food, water, medication, health care, shelter, cooling, heating, or other services necessary to maintain the protected person's well being, without the protected person's informed consent; or
  • abandonment by a caretaker.

Examples of neglect include:

  • refusal or failure of the guardian to provide or pay for necessary care and life necessities, such as food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, comfort, personal safety, and other essentials; and
  • abandonment.

Sexual exploitation means:

  • the protected person's guardian permits the protected person to be a part of vulnerable adult pornography.

Examples of sexual exploitation include:

  • producing, viewing or possessing pornographic photos or videos of a vulnerable adult; and
  • allowing the protected person to pose for pornographic photos or videos.

Financial exploitation means:

  • improperly using the protected person's money, credit, property, power of attorney or guardianship for the benefit of someone other than the protected person.

Examples of financial exploitation include:

  • cashing the protected person's checks without permission;
  • forging the protected person's signature;
  • misusing or stealing the protected person's money or possessions;
  • coercing or deceiving the protected person into signing any document; and
  • improperly using authority under a conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney



For statutory provisions, see Utah Code Section 76-6-404.

Theft means:

  • taking unauthorized control over the property of another with a purpose to deprive him or her of it.

Examples of theft include:

  • using the protected person's money to pay for your personal expenses or bills — or someone else's (Even expenses that you have because you are the guardian; these have to be approved by a separate conservator or the court.);
  • taking the protected person's money or property as reimbursement for your work without the approval of a separate conservator or the court;
  • claiming reimbursement for more than your actual and necessary expenses.


Unlawful dealing of property by a fiduciary

For statutory provisions, see Utah Code Section 76-6-513.

Unlawfully dealing with property by a fiduciary means:

  • dealing with the protected person's property in a manner which you know is a violation of your duty and which involves substantial risk of loss to the protected person.
  • pledging the protected person's property as collateral for a loan for the benefit of anyone other than the protected person without the protected person's permission.

Examples of unlawful dealing include:

  • using the protected person's car as security for a title loan to you or anyone other than the protected person;
  • allowing someone to drive the protected person's car for their benefit
  • allowing someone other than a legal dependent to live in the protected person's home rent free or at less than fair market value.
  • investing the protected person's money in a scheme with a high risk of loss.