Note

If you suspect that a vulnerable adult is hurt or requires protection, you may:

Who is a vulnerable adult

A vulnerable adult (VA) is someone who meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is at least 18 years old.
  • Has a mental or physical infirmity (weakness), disability or incapacity, and because of it, is unable to protect themselves from abuse, neglect or self-neglect.

Examples of abuse, neglect or self-neglect for a VA include:

Abuse

Physical abuse.

Emotional or psychological abuse.

Conduct that controls or dominates the VA and causes the VA to fear for their safety or well-being.

Conduct that unreasonably deprives (or threatens to unreasonably deprive) the VA of freedom of movement or well-being.

Neglect

Lack of provision of essential care, causing (or being reasonably likely to cause) one or more of the following:

  • Personal injury.
  • Physical pain.
  • Injury to the VA's mental or physical health.

Examples of essential care include food, clothing, medical aid, lodging and other necessities of life.

Self-neglect

The VA fails to perform essential tasks of daily living, such as eating, dressing or seeking medical aid.

This results in the VA suffering from one or more of the following:

  • Malnutrition or dehydration.
  • Untreated physical or mental illness or injury.
  • Living in grossly unsanitary or hazardous conditions.

Refer to the Vulnerable Adults Act for more information.

The Family Courts can make orders to protect vulnerable adults. Find out about the types of protective orders:

Applicants can apply for the following types of protective orders for a VA:

Restraining order

Restrains the respondent from abusing or further abusing the VA.

Exclusion order

Excludes the respondent from the VA's place of residence or a specified part of the VA's place of residence.

Non-access order

Prohibits the respondent from entering an area outside the VA's place of residence or any other place frequented by the VA.

Non-visitation or non-communication order

Prohibits the respondent from visiting or communicating with the VA.

Expedited order

A temporary protective order that the court may issue if the VA is experiencing (or is in immediate danger of) abuse or neglect.

Apply to protect a vulnerable adult step-by-step

This is the process to apply for a protective order for a VA.

If you file the application, you are the applicant (also known as the complainant).

The party against whom the application is filed is the respondent.

When filing

File an application

Find out the documents, fees and process to file an application to protect a VA.

Resolving the dispute

Attend court

Both you and the respondent have to attend a court session known as a mention. If the respondent does not consent to the application during the mention, the court may refer the case for counselling or give you directions to prepare for a hearing at a later date. On conclusion of the hearing, the judge will decide the outcome of the application.

After an order is made

File an application, if needed

If you are not satisfied with an order made by the court, you may file an appeal.

2021/07/23
Note

You do not need a lawyer to file an application for a protective order. However, you may choose to engage one for your court mention or hearing. Find out where to get help.

Resources

Refer to the vulnerable adults brochure: 

Legislation associated with this topic includes:

Related questions

If you have received a summons to attend court for a protective order application for a vulnerable adult (VA), you must attend the court mention indicated in the summons. You are the respondent.

If you consent to the application during the mention, an order will be made and the case will conclude. If you do not consent to the application during the mention, the court may refer the case for counselling or give you directions to prepare for a hearing at a later date. On conclusion of the hearing, the judge will decide the outcome. Find out more about going to court for the application.

You may choose to seek legal advice on your options. Find out where to get help.


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