Shawnie Rechtenbaugh, Department Secretary

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long term services and supports

Adult Protective Services

Physical & Emotional Abuse

Physical abuse is defined as physical harm, bodily injury or attempt to cause physical harm or injury, or the fear of imminent physical harm or bodily injury on an elder or a disabled adult. Emotional Abuse is defined as a caretakes's willful, malicious and repeated infliction of sexually obscene acts (nudity or simulations) without consent; unreasonable confinement; harm, damage or destruction of property; or verbal harassment or threats to inflict phyiscal, emotional and psychological abuse. For a full definition of physical and emotional abuse please see SDCL 22-46-1 .


Neglect is defined as 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.


Exploitation is defined as 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.

When to Report

The following indicators may be helpful when deciding whether abuse, neglect or exploitation may be taking place.

Physical Indicators

Behavioral Indicators

Indicators of Financial Exploitation

Indicators from Family/Caregivers

Mandatory Reporting

South Dakota law requires individuals in the medical and mental health professions and employees or entities that have ongoing contact with and exposure to elders and adults with disabilities, to report knowledge or reasonable suspicion of abuse, neglect or exploitation of elders and adults with disabilities.

Mandatory Reporters
There are two groups of mandatory reporters and the process for reporting is different for each group.

The first group of mandatory reporters of abuse, neglect and exploitation includes:

These individuals must make an oral or written report within twenty-four hours to law enforcement, the state's attorney or DHS.

The second group of mandatory reporters of abuse and neglect includes:

The person in charge must also make an oral or written report within twenty-four hours to law enforcement, the state's attorney or DHS.

What to Report

To report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an elder or an adult with disabilities, please contact your local law enforcement agency, local state's attorney's office or the nearest Department of Human Services office or email the Division of Long Term Services and Supports .

In addition to mandatory reporting, people can make reports on a voluntary basis. Any person who knows or has reason to suspect that an elder or adult who is disabled has been abused, neglected or exploited may report that information. Persons who in good faith make a report of abuse, neglect or exploitation of an elderly or adult with a disability are immune from liability.

Facilities or programs that are licensed or regulated by the Department of Health or Department of Human Services will follow department procedures in place for reporting.

A mandatory reporter who knowingly fails to make the required report is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Include the following if you know or have reason to believe someone needs protection from abuse, neglect or exploitation:


All reports are confidential. Civil and criminal immunity is available for good faith reports by employees, agents or members of medical or dental staff of facilities regulated by the Department of Health .


Referrals to:

Other Interventions may include referral for: