BILL NUMBER: S527
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the social services law, in relation to mandatory
reporting of abuse of mentally or physically incapacitated persons
This bill establishes mandatory reporting requirements for mentally or
physically incapacitated persons.
Elder abuse is a crime that often goes unnoticed and therefore
unpunished. This bill affords the same protections to mentally or
physically incapacitated adults that the law currently affords minors
in the state of New York concerning mandatory reporting requirements.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :
Section 1: The social services law is amended adding a new article
§473-m: sets the legislative findings and purpose.
§473-n: defines the following terms 1) "abuse" means the willful
infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, verbal or mental
intimidation or punishment resulting in physical harm, pain, mental
anguish or financial exploitation. 2) "person" means an individual,
over 18 years old, who is mentally or physically incapacitated to such
a degree as to be unable to defend himself or herself physically or
who is mentally unable to independently care for himself or herself.
§473-o: mandatory reporting. 1) sets out a list of individuals who are
required to report if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a
person coming before them in their professional or official capacity
is abuse or maltreated. Requires that these individual report such
abuse to the person in charge of their agency or office. 2) employers
of individuals required to report abuse under subsection I must supply
their employees with written materials describing the reporting
procedure. The employers are responsible for the costs associated with
printing and distributing written information. 3) any agency issuing a
license, certificate or permit to an individual to operate an adult
day care center or nursing home shall provide these individuals with
written information explaining the reporting requirements.
§473-p: Any person permitted to report. In addition to those
individuals required to report abuse, any person may make such report
if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a person is abused or
§473-q: Reporting Procedure. Reports shall be made immediately by
phone or facsimile on a form supplied by the commissioner to be
succeed by a written report within two days: 1) if the suspected abuse
occurred in a long term health care facility other than a state mental
health hospital or a state developmental center, the report shall be
made to the Office of Children and Family Services. 2) if the
suspected abuse occurred in a state mental health hospital or a state
developmental center, the written report shall be made either to the
commission on the quality of care of the mentally disabled or to the
quality assurance division of the office of mental retardation and
developmental disabilities. 3) if the suspected abuse is believed to
have occurred in any place other than one described in subdivision one
or two of this section the written report shall be made to the county
office of adult protective services and local law enforcement.
§473-r: Obligations of persons required to report. Allows photographs
and/or x-rays to be taken at public expense at the direction of
persons and officials required to report instances of suspected abuse.
Also, requires that such person or official immediately notify the
person in charge of such institution, facility or agency. Finally,
the photographs or x-rays must be sent with the written report or as
soon as possible to the agency or local law enforcement with which the
written report is filed.
§473-s: Immunity from liability for reporting. Any person who in good
faith makes a report pursuant to this section shall have immunity from
any liability, civil or criminal, for having made such a report. For
the purpose of any proceeding, civil or criminal, the good faith of
any person required to report instances of physical abuse,
mistreatment, or neglect shall be presumed.
§473-t: Penalties for failure to report. 1) if a person who is
required to report abuse under this article willfully fails to do so
shall be guilty of a class "A" misdemeanor. 2) any person who
knowingly and willfully fails to report abuse and is required to do so
under this article shall be civilly liable for the damages proximately
caused by such failure.
§473-u: Education of mandatory reporters. The department of children
and family services shall in conjunction with the office for the aging
and local protective adult services offices, conduct an education
program for local social service's office staff, persons and officials
required to report under this article and any other appropriate
persons to encourage the fullest degree of reporting adult abuse or
maltreatment. Such program shall be developed and implemented in
coordination with that established under section two hundred nineteen
of the elder law. The program shall include but not be limited to
responsibilities, obligations, and powers under this article and
chapter as well as diagnosis of abuse and maltreatment of adults and
the procedures of adult protective services.
Section 2: delineates the effective date.
Studies have found the problem of abuse continues to escalate in our
society. Abuse of the mentally or physically incapacitated often goes
unreported because of the inability of the victim to communicate the
abuse to the proper authorities or the victim's unwillingness to
disclose the abuse due to embarrassment, fear or shame.
This bill would institute a system which would make the individuals
treating or coming into contact with persons who have physical or
emotional symptoms of abuse responsible for reporting this crime to
the proper authorities so that the incapacitated person can receive
needed protection from further abuse.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
2007 -passed Senate; 2008 - Children and Families
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect the first day of November next succeeding
the date on which it shall have become law.