Elder Abuse Legislation Update from OSA
The Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) applauds Governor Rick Snyder's urgent call for the Michigan House to pass Senate elder abuse legislation quickly. During Wednesday's State of the State Address, Governor Snyder urged swift legislative action that would give vulnerable adults and seniors the necessary protection from physical abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
According to Kari Sederburg, OSA Director, “Vulnerable adult abuse is one of Michigan’s fastest growing crimes, with an estimated 80,000 victims each year. Sadly, these people are suffering, often in silence, because Michigan does not have adequate tools and resources to protect and support victims and improve prevention and prosecution efforts. With passage of this legislation, this is all about to change.”
The bipartisan 18-bill Senate elder abuse package championed by Senator Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) provides long overdue reforms including increased criminal penalties, provisions for video-taped testimony, required training for employees of financial institutions, improved coordination between state and local authorities, and a silver alert program. Most of the bills in the package have been introduced in previous legislative sessions.
Help Governor Snyder and OSA send a firm message to the Michigan House of Representatives and Speaker Bolger that passage of this elder abuse package by Valentine's Day is critical. Michigan must not miss this unprecedented opportunity to show we care for our most vulnerable and will not break their hearts yet again.
Additional information on senior protections can be found in "the elder protection" Senate bills 457, 459-468, 604-605, 706 and 777; the bills text and analyses are available at www.legislature.mi.gov. For more information, contact the OSA at (517) 373-8230 or visit www.michigan.gov/miseniors.