The Community Press

Legislation to Prevent Elder Abuse

October 22, 2020

Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) cosponsored H.R. 8169, the Elder Abuse Protection Act, important legislation to prevent elder abuse and improve law enforcement’s ability to interact with and respond to senior citizens who may have been victims of fraud and financial exploitation. 

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center 2019 Internet Crime Report, the Center received over 68,000 complaints from victims over the age of 60 with adjusted losses in excess of $835 million. This is especially important in the wake of COVID-19, which many experts have found has led to a significant increase in the number elder abuse cases. 

“A society is judged by how it treats its elders,” said Congressman Gonzalez. “Unfortunately the data shows that seniors in nursing homes and care facilities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and abuse during the pandemic. I am proud to cosponsor the Elder Abuse Protection Act because we must take care of our senior citizens and give law enforcement the tools to identify and react to elder abuse when it happens.”

The Elder Abuse Protection Act of 2020 would:

  • Make the Elder Justice Initiative a permanent office within the Department of Justice Criminal Division that would be responsible for overseeing Elder Justice Coordinators, who are assigned to each United States Attorney’s Office;
  • Require the Elder Justice Coordinators to evaluate training models and best practices to create publicly available materials for local law enforcement and public officials tasked with investigating, interacting with victims of elder abuse, or addressing elder abuse;
  • Mandate that the Elder Justice Initiative maintain and publish information aimed at protecting elders from fraudulent schemes and include resources aimed at preventing elder abuse; and
  • Require the Attorney General’s Office to translate into Spanish any online resources that the Elder Justice Initiative publishes, and to pose Spanish-language links that facilitate reporting of elder fraud and abuse to State and local law enforcement and help educate the public to prevent the financial exploitation of elders.

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