Caregiver Abuse Law and Legal Definition

Caregiver abuse refers to abuse by the care giver. Abuse means physical or mental maltreatment which often results in mental, emotional, sexual or physical injury. Abuse by caregiver can include deprivation of food or medication, infliction of bodily injury, beatings, oral assaults and isolation. Caregiver abuse can happen in any place that a person relies on someone's ongoing help. It can occur in a personal care home, in a nursing or group home, a hospital, a school, in rehabilitation programs, and even a person's home.

Example of a state statute on caregiver abuse.

W. Va. Code § 61-2-29 defines abuse and caregiver as follows:

(1) "Abuse" means the intentional infliction of bodily injury on an incapacitated adult;

(2) "Bodily injury" means substantial physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition;

(3) "Caregiver" means any person who has assumed the legal responsibility or a contractual obligation for the care of an incapacitated adult, or has voluntarily assumed responsibility for the care of an incapacitated adult. The term includes a facility operated by any public or private agency, organization or institution which provides services to, and has assumed responsibility for the care of an incapacitated adult.

(4) "Incapacitated adult" means any person eighteen years of age or older who by reason of advanced age, physical, mental or other infirmity is unable to carry on the daily activities of life necessary to sustaining life and reasonable health;

(c) A caregiver who abuses an incapacitated adult or who knowingly permits another person to abuse an incapacitated adult is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500 or confined in jail for not less than ninety days nor more than one year, or both fined and confined.