WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the day before Elder Abuse Awareness Day, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called for the swift passage of legislation that would help Ohio crack down on exploitation and abuse of Ohio seniors. Brown cosponsored the Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2011—introduced by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI)—that would establish grant programs for states to assist in the development and operation of programs to streamline response to elder abuse and exploitation.
“It’s heartwrenching that so many Ohio seniors are subject to physical, emotional, and financial abuse at the hands of their caregivers,” Brown said. “Ohio’s seniors deserve to age with dignity, respect and justice rather than the mistreatment and exploitation that are too prevalent. I remain committed to fighting for the safety of Ohio’s seniors and ensuring the passage of the Elder Abuse Victims Act.”
“The Elder Justice Coalition commends Senator Sherrod Brown for cosponsoring the most significant elder abuse prevention legislation of the 112th congress, the Elder Abuse Victims Act. The bill recognizes that elder abuse is a crime and resources of law enforcement must be better applied to deal with it. Senator Brown continues his ardent support of the cause of elder justice as he was also a cosponsor of the landmark Elder Justice Act which became law in 2010.”-Robert B. Blancato, National Coordinator, Elder Justice Coalition
During the first three quarters of 2010, there were more than 10,000 incidents of reported abuse in Ohio. Today, Brown released a new county-by-county analysis from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services outlining the incidence of elder abuse. According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, 14.1 percent of older Americans not living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by a caregiver each year. In addition to inducing physical and emotional harm, financial exploitation of seniors costs the nation more than $2.5 billion each year, predominantly due to higher medical expenses.
Specifically, the Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2011:
- Establishes a Justice Department grant program for States to assist them in developing, establishing and operating programs to better respond to cases of elder abuse and exploitation.
- Creates an Office of Elder Justice (OEJ) within the Department of Justice responsible for administering the State grants and disseminates information through the OEJ to appropriate State and local officials, including model training materials to assist in training law enforcement, legal, judicial, medical, mental health and adult protective services personnel about investigative, administrative, and judicial proceedings in elder abuse cases.
- In order for States to be eligible for the grants, they must establish multidisciplinary task forces including judicial and legal officers, elder justice advocates, local area agencies on aging, local public and private agencies and entities relating to elder abuse and exploitation, health and mental health professionals, representatives from adult protective services, and victims or family members of victims.
- The grants can specifically be used to create positions within State prosecutors’ offices and State courts to address elder justice related cases. Funds may also be used create State and local law enforcement positions that investigate cases of elder abuse and exploitation. Additionally, funds may be used to support adult protective services programs.