The New York State Senate today passed legislation to build upon the State’s efforts to prevent elder abuse and maltreatment. The bill (S6922), sponsored by Senator Susan Serino (R-C-I, Hyde Park), would expand a successful pilot program statewide to enable multidisciplinary teams to investigate reports of suspected elder abuse and maltreatment.
Senator Serino, Chair of the Senate Committee on Aging, said, “I believe in investing in programs that work and these multidisciplinary teams have proven to be incredibly successful in the short time that they have been up and running. By providing access to these programs to seniors across the state, we are taking a major step forward in bringing the issue of elder abuse to light and ensuring that our seniors have access to the resources they need to enjoy their golden years free from harm and safe from abuse.”
Elder abuse and maltreatment includes financial exploitation, physical and sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect. Financial exploitation is the fastest growing form of elder abuse -- accounting for an estimated $2.6 billion dollars a year nationally in losses to people age 60 and older.
The Elder Abuse Prevention Interventions Grant Initiative supported a pilot program in New York City and the Finger Lakes to focus on preventing and swiftly intervening in financial exploitation of elder adults, aged 60 and older, through the use of multidisciplinary teams. The program has shown significant results in preventing the exploitation of older adults and the successful prosecution of criminal cases.
This legislation builds upon this successful initiative to continue efforts that aggressively target these crimes and build strong systems of collaboration and intervention across New York state. The program would allow Social Services districts to develop multidisciplinary investigative teams, which would include representatives from Adult Protective Services, law enforcement, the District Attorney’s office, banks and financial institutions, as well as forensic accountants, physicians or medical providers, mental health professionals, and victim advocacy personnel, to investigate reports of suspected elder abuse or maltreatment.
The bill has been sent to the Assembly.