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New Session Of Iowa Legislative Session Has Some Issuing A Call For Tougher Elder Abuse Protections

Mon 1-11-2021

(Des Moines)-- As the new Iowa legislative session kicks off today (Monday), advocates for seniors hope lawmakers will take another look at elder abuse and do more to prevent it. 

When the 2020 session abruptly ended in March due to COVID, the momentum went away for a bill to create a new criminal offense for financial exploitation and other harms against Iowans age 60 and older. The bill had cleared the state Senate, but didn't get a vote in the House. 

Anthony Carroll of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) of Iowa says current statute doesn't cover a lot of ground, and this provision could stem a prevalent way in which elders are targeted...Anthony Carroll01 

"It's not the 'stranger-danger' or scams-it's more ofentimes the danger that can exist within your home; people that you've entrusted with your finances and care that have used that opportunity to physically abuse and financially exploit."

The legislation also would direct the Department of Aging to collect and store data on these incidents. Carroll points out that, in a report from last year, the Department of Human Services said more than 50-percent of reported cases weren't accepted for follow-up...Anthony Carroll02 

"We have a very narrow system that really only stops elder abuse in very specific situations."

Supporters of the bill say they fear the situation has gotten worse with so many older people isolated right now because of the pandemic. The previous bill did have the backing of many law enforcement groups, financial institutions and long-term care associations.

(Courtesy Iowa News Service)