The elderly in Alabama should feel more safe and be less at a risk for abuse now that a new bill has been signed into law.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed into law “The Elder Abuse Prevention Act.” This law is created to help prevent and prosecute elder abuse. Tammy Irons, State Senator from Florence, stated that she was grateful that Governor Bentley realized the importance of protecting our senior citizens and signed my bill into law this session. She also said that this is the first step in protecting our senior citizens from abuse in all of its disgusting forms – physical, emotional and financial. Senator Irons is the author of the bill.
A committee will be created by the law which will consist of representatives from both governmental and non-governmental agencies. According to Irons, there is a lot of knowledge among these agencies concerning elder abuse, but this knowledge isn’t always shared. She is hopeful that the committee members will work together by sharing information, and cross training agencies on elder abuse. For example, it was discovered through research that the Alabama Securities Commission would be an excellent source for training our senior citizens on financial abuse and scams. She would like to see stronger laws developed as a result of this study to penalize those who take advantage of our elderly.
Again, according to Irons, Alabama is experiencing a severe “under-reporting” of cases of elder abuse. When she began her crusade, the most recent annual case-report count in elder abuse was around 6,000 cases per year. Unfortunately, a more accurate number of unreported elder abuse incidents in Alabama is estimated to be around 25,000-75,000. Irons added that with the enactment of the Elder Abuse Prevention Act, Alabama can now be proactive in handling elder abuse cases rather than reactive. She also said that hopefully, this law will prevent one of our most valuable group of citizens, our elderly, from being hurt or harmed in any way and from losing the nest egg that they have worked so hard for all of their lives.