(Washington, DC) – Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced the Elder Protection and Abuse Prevention Act to help protect seniors from abuse by implementing comprehensive network of elder abuse prevention and response measures.
“Too many of our nation’s seniors are physically abused or financially exploited by the very people who are supposed to care for them,” Blumenthal said. “By requiring tough national standards for screening and reporting, this bill would help hold bad actors accountable for their deplorable behavior and provide critical protections for senior citizens.”
"For too long, older adults across our country have been vulnerable to abuse and exploitation from the very people who should be looking after their well-being," said Sen. Franken. "This bill will address the tragedy of elder abuse—which is far too common in Minnesota and across the United States—by providing resources to protect seniors from abuse and helping those who have already been abused."
“Seniors deserve to spend their golden years without fear they’ll be taken advantage of or mistreated,” said Whitehouse, a member of the Special Committee on Aging. “I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of this bill, which would improve programs that protect some of our most vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbors from physical and emotional abuse and financial exploitation.”
“It is disappointing to me that bills of this nature are a necessity. The safety of older Americans and ensuring their protection against those who would take advantage of them shouldn’t need to be the subject of federal legislation but we will live in a time and era where it does. Our grandfathers and grandmothers, moms and dads, deserve to feel protected, respected and secure,” said Casey.
“The Elder Justice Coalition (EJC) greatly appreciates Senator Blumenthal’s steadfast support of elder justice and his leadership in the fight against elder abuse and exploitation,” said Elder Justice Coalition National Coordinator Bob Blancato. “Elder abuse will not end until our society recognizes it as a true crisis and provides the tools to address it in a coordinated national effort. Senator Blumenthal’s bill moves us toward that goal.”
While child abuse and domestic violence screenings are well-integrated into the nation’s health and community services network, elder abuse screening requirements are noticeably absent in federally-supported senior services. The Elder Protection and Abuse Prevention Act seeks to fill that void by encouraging the development of a strong network of elder abuse screening and support programs to identify instances of elder abuse and stop them before they happen. In some states, strong mandatory reporting laws and penalties exist for crimes against seniors, but they are ineffective without screening and reporting standards in every part of our community.