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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we will discuss Illinois Orders of Protection for neglect or exploitation of a disabled adult, including: what is the definition of a “high-risk” adult with disabilities in Illinois?, what constitutes “neglect” for Illinois Orders of Protection?, and what constitutes “exploitation” for Illinois orders of protection.  

Illinois Orders of Protection are court orders intended to prevent abuse between family or household members, or abuse, negligent harm, or exploitation of adults with disabilities by a family or household members.  For some foundational information about Illinois Orders of Protection, check out our article: Illinois Orders of Protection Explained.  

Who Can File a Petition for an Order of Protection?

A petition for an Order of Protection may be filed by a petitioner on behalf of a “high-risk” adult with disabilities who has been abused, neglected, or exploited by a family member or member of his or her household.  There are a few important prerequisites to filing:

  1. There must have been abuse, neglect or exploitation;
  2. Of a “high-risk” adult with disabilities;
  3. By a family member or household member of the “high-risk” adult.

Personal caregivers and assistants are considered “household members” for the purposes of Illinois Orders of Protection.  

“Neglect” and “exploitation” are not valid causes of action giving rise to an Order of Protection unless a “high-risk” adult with disabilities is the individual to be protected by the Order, but an Order of Protection may be obtained for “abuse” whether or not a “high-risk” adult with disabilities is involved.  “Abuse” includes behaviors such as harassment and threats.  For more, check out: What Constitutes “Abuse” for the Purpose of Illinois Orders of Protection?

What is the Definition of a High-Risk Adult with Disabilities for Illinois Orders of Protection?

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act defines a “‘high-risk’ adult with disabilities” as an individual who is at least 18 years old and “whose physical or mental disability impairs his or her ability to seek or obtain protection from abuse, neglect, or exploitation.”  

What Constitutes “Neglect” for Illinois Orders of Protection?

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act defines “neglect” as the “failure to exercise that degree of care toward a high-risk adult with disabilities which a reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances.”

Neglect includes, but is not limited to the following behaviors:

  • Failure to take reasonable steps to protect the high-risk adult from acts of abuse;
  • Repeated unreasonable confinement;
  • Failure to provide required food, shelter, clothing, and personal hygiene;
  • Failure to provide required medical and rehabilitative care for both physical and mental health needs;
  • Failure to protect the high-risk adult from health and safety hazards.

What Constitutes Exploitation of a High-Risk Adult With Disabilities for Illinois Orders of Protection?

“Exploitation” of a “high-risk” adult with a disability occurs when the respondent illegally manipulates a high risk adult or illegally uses his or her assets.  The behavior of the respondent must be in itself illegal.  This includes tortious behavior that would give rise to a civil cause of action, such as misappropriating the disabled adult’s assets through undue influence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, deception, or extortion.    

If the court issues an Order of Protection, remedies can include a prohibition on future abuse or neglect, monetary damages, and requirements that the respondent stay away from the protected party.  Check out our article: Remedies for Illinois Orders of Protection.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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