Legislation gives law enforcement the resources to help vulnerable adults
State Rep. Jim Runestad today testified before the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee in support of his legislation to better protect senior citizens from abuse by giving law enforcement the resources to make accurate observations about incidents and assist officers in their investigations.
“Some warning signs may be obvious, but other forms of abuse can be hard to spot,” said Runestad, of White Lake. “This plan is designed to cover all bases from physical abuse and neglect as well as financial abuse. Law enforcement will have the tools they need to better protect senior citizens and vulnerable adults.”
Law enforcement will be given a specially designed form to record officer observations and to prompt officers to ask questions that expose the signs of neglect, abuse, and financial exploitation.
The purpose of the form is to help law enforcement work with prosecutors and families to protect senior citizens, and prevent future abuse from happening.
“Senior citizens who are subjected to any type of abuse are survivors. I will continue to fight for them,” Runestad said.
While Michigan has penalties for convicted abusers, elder abuse is under-reported. Approximately one in 10 Americans age 60 years or older have experienced some form of elder abuse and only one in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities, according to the National Council on Aging.
Scott Teter from the Michigan Office of Attorney General testified in support of the bill.
House Bill 5813 remains under consideration by the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee.