State Senate Passes Senator Hueso’s Elder Abuse Legislation
Sacramento, CA – April 23, 2018 – The California State Senate today voted in favor of legislation authored by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) that would assist law enforcement officers in properly identifying instances of elder abuse crimes. Senate Bill No. 1191 received unanimous support and now heads to the Assembly for consideration.
The legislation would require that all law enforcement jurisdictions in the State of California include in their training manuals and policies specific reference to existing California Penal Codes sections addressing elder abuse crimes.
“The elderly and other dependent adults are very vulnerable, especially when they are in someone else’s care, and I am extremely concerned by the increase in reports of elder abuse crimes in my district and California at large”, said Senator Hueso. “This bill will ensure that all perpetrators of elder abuse and isolation crimes face the consequences prescribed by existing law”.
Existing state law holds that it is a misdemeanor to knowingly allow or inflict physical or mental suffering on an elder or dependent adult. However, this information is too frequently left out of training manuals. As a result, police officers and other law enforcement officials often lack training on how to handle cases of elder abuse, and are therefore less likely to recognize when crimes such as false imprisonment and forced isolation are taking place against dependent adults.
When families report abuse of vulnerable loved ones, law enforcement often responds that abuse is a civil matter and advises those families to hire attorneys and seek civil remedies. However, courts rule that families do not have legal standing for such civil remedies. The result is sometimes that the abuse continues until the victim dies.
“By increasing officer awareness of the signs of elder abuse crimes, this bill will make it easier for families of victims of elder abuse to prosecute these crimes and bring perpetrators to justice”, said Hueso.