Learn How to Report Abuse or Neglect
Help Protect Those You Serve Through Your Ministry
The Diocese of Burlington is committed to providing a safe environment for all vulnerable individuals entrusted to our care. The Diocese hosts a variety of programs, activities, organizations and events in which there is regular contact with these vulnerable individuals. With many children and vulnerable adults under our care, it is our sacred and ethical responsibility to protect their rights and be alert to the possibility of child abuse or neglect. As you fulfill your ministry to the Church, help us to be watchful of the signs of abuse in those you serve, and be sure to report any suspected cases of abuse or neglect that you see.
Reporting Child Abuse
If you suspect a minor (person under 18 years of age) has been abused or neglected or if a minor has told you that he or she has been abused or neglected, make a report to local law enforcement or call the Vermont Department for Children and Families at 1-800-649-5285. This number is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may report anonymously.
If a child is in immediate danger of harm, dial 911. Follow up by making a report to DCF.
Reporting Vulnerable Adult Abuse
According to Vermont Law under Title 33 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated (33 V.S.A. §6902), a vulnerable adult is defined as “any person over the age of 18 who:
- is a resident of a facility required to be licensed under Chapter 71 of this title;
- is a resident of a psychiatric hospital or a psychiatric unit of a hospital;
- has been receiving personal care services for more than one month from a home health agency certified by the Vermont Department of Health or from a person or organization that offers, provides or arranges for personal care; or
- regardless of residence or whether any type of service is received, is impaired due to brain damage, infirmities of aging, mental condition or physical, psychiatric, or developmental disability:
- that results in some impairment of the individual’s ability to provide for his or her own care without assistance, including the provision of food, shelter, clothing, health care, supervision, or management of finances; or
- because of the disability or infirmity, the individual has an impaired ability to protect himself or herself from abuse, neglect, or exploitation.”
To report vulnerable adult abuse, you do not have to determine strictly if someone fits into the state definition listed above; that distinction will be made later by investigators. Your main job is to make a report if you suspect that any type of maltreatment is occurring.
If you suspect a vulnerable adult is being abused or neglected or if you become aware of such a situation, you need to contact the proper authorities immediately. Submit a report to Vermont Adult Protective Services under the Division of Licensing and Protection by filling out this report form on its website. It is recommended that you submit a report through its online reporting form because, upon submission, it is immediately queued into its system.
If a vulnerable adult is in immediate danger of harm or if the situation is extremely time-sensitive call 911. Follow up by making a report to the Vermont Adult Protective Services.