Snohomish County EMS/TC Council
Mandatory Reporting of Abuse and Neglect
Updated On: Dec 20, 2018

Click here to Report Abuse and Neglect

EMS Providers ARE Mandatory Reporters: The historical practice of reporting  child and vulnerable adult abuse by EMS Providers has been to pass the information on (i.e. report) to the ED Staff. Nurses and other practitioners are also required to report suspected abuse to DSHS or law enforcement. However one practitioner reporting to another practitioner does not meet the requirements of the RCW. Reporting abuse to local law enforcement, reporting online, or by calling 1-866-END-HARM are the easiest ways to meet the requirements of the RCW. Our local intake number is 1-866-829-2153

Reports involving Vulnerable Adults can be made by calling 1-866-221-4909, or online

Practitioners are required to report child and vulnerable adult abuse to either law enforcement or DSHS:

If requested, a follow-up written report must be filled out and include the items listed in the following WAC:

RCW 26-44-020 defines abuse and neglect as injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by any person under circumstances which indicate that the child's health, welfare, and safety is harmed. Abuse and neglect does NOT include the physical discipline of a child as defined in RCW 9A.16.100.

The law defines ‘vulnerable adult’ as (RCW 74.34.020 RCW 74.34.021):

  • A person 60 years of age or older with functional, physical, or mental inability to care for self; or
  • An adult 18 years of age or older who:
    • Has a developmental disability; or
    • Has a guardian as per RCW 11.88 ; or
    • Lives in a nursing facility, boarding home, adult family home, or soldier’s home, residential habilitation center, or any facility licensed or required to be licensed by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS); or
    • Receives in-home services through a licensed health care agency, hospice, or an individual provider; or
    • Self-directs his/her own care 
      (see RCW 74.39.050).

DSHS can investigate only situations of abuse, abandonment, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation that involve an alleged victim who meets the definition of ‘vulnerable adult’ in the law. APS refers situations that involve alleged victims who do not fall within the definition of ‘vulnerable adult’ to appropriate resources.


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