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Another legal remedy that does not result in the vulnerable adult being placed under guardianship or conservatorship is an action for injunctive relief, where the petitioner requests a court order requiring a party to do or refrain from doing a particular action that is harmful to the vulnerable adult. These legal actions may be brought by attorneys in the County Attorney’s Office’s Protective Services Unit, as part if their responsibility under the Vulnerable Adults Act.
If a finding is made of maltreatment of a vulnerable adult, the perpetrator of the maltreatment will be disqualified from employment working with vulnerable adults or children. The perpetrator could be liable for civil damages in a private lawsuit.
In a criminal proceeding, action can be taken by the State against a person charged with financial exploitation, criminal neglect, or abuse of a vulnerable adult. These matters would be handled in the Criminal Division of the County Attorney’s Office.
Regardless of whether the petition is filed by the County Attorney’s Office, a private attorney or a pro se party, the county Social Services department becomes involved, since the court is required to appoint a court visitor, usually a county social worker, to visit the proposed ward/conservatee and file a report and recommendation with the court.