Enacts the Senior Anti-Violence and Enforcement Act (SAVE); establishes a central registry for access to reports of maltreatment of seniors; creates a council on elder abuse; establishes penal provisions regarding offenses against the elderly and disabled.
BILL NUMBER: S5582
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the elder law, the penal law, the state finance law, the vehicle and traffic law and the banking law, in relation to enacting the senior anti-violence and enforcement act
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF THE BILL : To enact the senior anti-violence and enforcement act (SAVE), which will provide new protections for seniors, including mandatory reporting of crimes or abuse and creation of a statewide abuse registry, establishment of new investigatory procedures, provision for research on senior violence, and establishment of new criminal penalties for crimes against seniors.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : The bill creates a new Title 2 of Article 3 in the elder law to make the following changes:
* MANDATORY REPORTING OF ABUSE OR MALTREATMENT : The bill requires mandatory reporting of abuse and mistreatment of seniors, and establishes a broad definition of abuse and mistreatment that includes not only physical abuse, but also financial, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment, financial or material exploitation, and self-neglect. A new statewide central registry for senior abuse and neglect is established in the State Office For The Aging (SOFA). New York is currently one of eight states in the country that lacks a requirement for mandatory reporting.
* MANDATORY REPORTERS : It sets a broad range of mandatory reporters, including health care workers, social workers, mental health professionals, persons employed by or associated with a licensed or registered facility which provides care to seniors, peace and police officers, district attorneys and other law enforcement official, as well as bankers, financial consultants, and others. The bill also allows any person to report.
* LEAD AGENCY FOR SENIOR ABUSE AND NEGLECT : The State Office For the Aging is established as the lead agency for senior abuse and neglect, and the designated agencies are established as lead agencies at the local level. Each designated agency is required to establish a Senior Anti-Violence Services (SAVS) unit. The bill also requires that procedures for investigation be established by SOFA, and carried out by the SAVS units, using community teams of local services.
* FUNDING FOR SERVICES AND RESEARCH : To provide new funding for enhanced responsibilities, fees are increased on various crimes and driving infractions, to be paid to the credit of the senior Anti-Violence Services Fund, from which the monies are dispersed by SOFA for services and research.
* CRIMINAL PENALTIES : The bill creates a new article in the penal law in section 11 of the bill, Article 261 - Offenses Against The Elderly And Disabled, and makes numerous changes to the penal law, and adds new sections dealing with Abandonment of an elderly or disabled person, Endangering the welfare of an elderly or disabled person, Endangering the welfare of an elderly person
JUSTIFICATION : New York is one of only eight States in the country that does not require some form of mandatory reporting for elder abuse. The incidence of elder abuse is not known, and although various studies have tried to estimate the size of the problem, the figures still vary. In 1991, for example, researchers estimated that 2.5 million people in this country various forms of elder abuse. This figure was adjusted in 1996, based on state reporting data, to between 820,000 and 1,860,000 abused elders. Elder abuse takes many forms, and the courts and criminal justice system see it in many contexts: criminal assault, battery, rape or theft; civil fraud or conversion matters; personal injury actions; guardianship or conservatorship; mental health commitment; special protective proceedings; cases involving health care decisions for an incapacitated patient; and criminal or civil cases regarding institutional care. This bill addresses all of these situations.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE : Immediately.