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Bond Vows to Strengthen Elder Abuse Laws

Aug 19, 2003 | The number of cases of abuse against the elderly is prompting Missouri's senior U.S. Senator to move toward tougher federal laws to prevent elder abuse. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo) was in Springfield Tuesday to hold the first of four town hall meetings around the state to investigate elder abuse.

In the United States between 1986 and 1996, the National Center on Elder Abuse recorded a 150 per cent increase in incidents of abuse reported by state adult protective services. In one 12-month period, 36 per cent of nursing staff said they had witnessed an incident of physical abuse.

In 2000, the last year for which figures are available, Missouri investigated 1, 155 substantiated allegations of physical abuse against the elderly, 1, 184 cases of emotional abuse, and 402 cases of financial exploitation of the elderly.

"As a society, we can no longer look away from abuse of the elderly that is happening all around us," said Bond, the chairman of the Aging Subcommittee of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "The elderly are often the most vulnerable and we own them the same justice and protection expected by younger citizens."

Bond is co-sponsor of the Elder Justice Act which is pending in the U.S. Senate. The bill would:

*create two federal offices of Elder Justice to coordinate federal, state and local efforts

*establish new programs to assist victims and provide grants for education and training for health care providers, law enforcement and prosecutors

*require reporting of crimes in long term care settings and require FBI criminal background checks for people employed by federally funded long-term providers.

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