Relates to endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person
PURPOSE: To expand the definition of caregiver for the purpose of sections 260.32 and 260.34 of the penal law.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one of the bill amends subdivision 1 of section 260.31 of the penal law to expand the definition of caregiver to include a person who voluntarily, or otherwise by operation of law, assumes responsibility fox providing care for a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person.
Section two is the effective date
JUSTIFICATION: The definition of caregiver in section 260.31 of the penal law is limited to a person assuming responsibility of care of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person pursuant to a court order, or receives monetary or other valuable consideration for providing such care. This bill would expand the definition of a caregiver to include someone that is assumes responsibility by other operations of law such as an appointed guardian or power of attorney, or some someone that is voluntarily responsible fox providing care.
Prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and elder advocates have been frustrated by the limitations of New York's endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person law. By not including unpaid caregivers in the definition, vulnerable older adults have been deprived of the added protection they need and deserve. By expanding the definition to include voluntary caregivers, the amended law will impose stiff criminal penalties for inflicting harm on our most vulnerable populations, and will serve as a deterrent to inflicting such harm.
Elder abuse occurs more often in people's homes than in institutional settings and is largely hidden, shrouded in secrecy and shame. Studies and reports from professionals in the field suggest that elder abuse in domestic settings is a widespread, escalating epidemic - a serious problem that exists in every community and every neighborhood. Older adults are often reluctant to reveal incidents of abuse, particularly when the abuser is a family member or trusted acquaintance. When mistreatment is reported, abusers should be held accountable for the crimes they perpetrate against their innocent victims, and should face stiff penalties for those crimes.
The recent New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that 141 out of 1,000 older New Yorkers self-reported that they have experienced
an elder abuse event since turning age 60. Seventy-six out of 1,400 reported abuse within the one-year period preceding the study interview. Of the reported abusers, 88,W were people other than paid home care aides, including relatives, friends, and neighbors.
Recommendations developed during the New York State Elder Abuse Summit identified the limited definition of caregiver as a barrier to prosecuting many abuse cases. Expanding the definition to include all caregivers who cause injury to a vulnerable elderly person or an incompetent or physically disabled person will eliminate that barrier.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2951 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 25, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. VALESKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 260.31 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 14 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: 1. "Caregiver" means a person who (i) assumes responsibility for the care of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person pursuant to a court order
[; or], OR OTHERWISE BY OPERA- TION OF LAW; (ii) receives monetary or other valuable consideration for providing SUCH care; OR (III) VOLUNTARILY ASSUMES RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROVIDING CARE for a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person. S 2. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD06614-01-3