Friday, June 16, 2017

Commentary: New law protects victims of violence at every age

An older woman who is suffering from dementia and severe mobility impairments is referred to a specialized safe shelter for older adults. She just has been discharged from a hospital, where she was treated for severe injuries inflicted by her adult son —who also acts as her caretaker. The shelter helps her obtain a protective order so that her abusive adult child can no longer harm her.

Unbelievably, though, when this victim of abuse is admitted to the shelter, her son — the very person whose abuse led to her need for medical care and protection — is listed as having the power of attorney for her, allowing him to make medical and financial decisions on her behalf. In this horrific situation, under Maryland’s previous laws, even a protective order would not prevent an abuser from retaining the ability to make health care decisions for the parent he continuously and savagely abused.

Fortunately, Maryland’s state legislators recognized the peril of allowing abusers to make such decisions for their victims. Under legislation sponsored by Del. Shelly Hettleman and Sen. Delores Kelley and signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan on May 25, an individual in Maryland is now prohibited from serving as a health care agent for a patient if that individual is the subject of a protective order for that patient, or if that individual is the spouse of a patient who has a separation agreement or has filed for divorce.

The legislation is another step forward in protecting all victims of domestic and family violence at every age, especially those most vulnerable, from being continually controlled and potentially further harmed by their abusers.

Our organizations, the ElderSAFE™ Center at Charles E. Smith Life Communities in Rockville and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, both helped champion this bill under the leadership of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, the Women’s Law Center, with support from SARC (The Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center).  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Commentary: New law protects victims of violence at every age

1 comment:

Jeannie said...

Guardianship victims?