Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chairwoman of the Senate HELP Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging, and Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) introduced the Elder Abuse Victims Act, a bill that would improve the law enforcement community’s ability to target and combat abuse and exploitation of senior citizens. A companion to the Elder Abuse Victims Act (H.R. 448), introduced by Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA), was passed earlier this year by a vote of 397 to 25 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“For years, Congress has failed to take concrete action to address the consequences of elder abuse, and that must change,” said Senator Kohl. “With this bill, we hope to help local enforcement agencies and other advocates tackle the often-hidden scourge of elder abuse.”
“The elderly are often among the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Senator Leahy. “We must do all we can to protect our seniors from abuse and exploitation. The Elder Abuse Victims Act takes a positive step in that direction.”
Among key provisions, the Elder Abuse Victims Act:
· Stipulates that elder abuse includes mail, telemarketing, and Internet fraud aimed at elderly people;
· Seeks to develop a common definition of elder abuse as knowing infliction of physical or psychological harm, or the knowing deprivation of goods or services that are necessary to meet essential needs or to avoid physical or psychological harm;
· Seeks to develop a common definition of elder exploitation as fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper acts or processes of an individual, including a caregiver or fiduciary, that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain, or that results in depriving an elder of rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets; and
· Funds creation of positions within State courts, prosecutors’ offices or State Medicaid Fraud Control Units to coordinate elder justice-related cases, training, technical assistance, and policy development for State prosecutors and courts.
Full Press Release and Source:
Kohl, Leahy, Mikulski, Lemieux Introduce Bill to Improve Enforcement of Elder Abuse Laws