Proposed Washington State laws to prevent elder abuse

The Seattle Times reports that recommendations by experts in the law enforcement, social work and financial services fields have helped develop some proposed laws for Washington State which would help authorities in identifying, preventing and prosecuting people who harm and abuse some or our most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and infirm.

The Times reports that there are 13,000 abuse reports to Washington State agencies a year involving senior citizens.

Attorney General Rob McKenna initiated the effort to create these laws because he has seen a “steady increase in the frequency with which fraud-related cases involve the exploitation and abuse of older adults.”

Laws proposed to the State Legislature include:

  • Increasing punishment to those that harm people 65 years of age and older.
  • Requiring people in financial institutions to report anyone they suspect of exploiting the elderly financially.
  • Improving coordination between Adult Protective services and law enforcement.
  • Providing a database where people can search for the names of those who have a history of elderly abuse.

Two United State Senate bills were just approved by the Senate Finance Committee. One bill, “Elderly Justice Act” resolves to “prevent, detect, treat, intervene in, and prosecute elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.” The other “Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007” provides background checks and criminal screening for nursing home employees who work directly with patients.

If someone you care about has been abused, injured or even died due to nursing home neglect and abusecontact The Farber Law Group, a law firm with more than 30 years experience in representing nursing home abuse and neglect victims and their families.

For more information, see our Nursing Home & Elder Abuse Resources.