Tennessee Taking the Lead in Elder Abuse Legislation

Hands on jail cellEight specific recommendations are now being reviewed by Tennessee state legislators who are responding to the results of a task force that placed a spotlight on a disgraceful problem. A problem that is not limited to any one state.

The Elder Abuse Task Force submitted a final report on its findings to the General Assembly, according to the WJHL News article "Elder Abuse Task Force submits final report, recommendations to Tennessee General Assembly."

This task force was created as part of legislation from Senator Rusty Crowe and Representative Courtney Rogers after a 2013 Community Watchdog investigation into the state's abuse problem.

Senator Crowe remarked, "I applaud the work of the Task Force in reviewing the issues. Now, it is time to put their concepts into motion and make a difference in protecting our aging population from abuse."

The task force worked for more than twelve months to develop proposals on how to deal with elder abuse in Tennessee.

Their report makes eight recommendations, one of which is changing state law to ultimately increase penalties related to elder abuse. They also want to see more education and prevention, mandatory background checks for caregivers and better analysis and processing of elder abuse cases.

Another recommendation calls for the formation of a working group to develop a field guide for law enforcement that will concentrate on elder abuse prevention and the prosecution of elder abuse.

"We have our work cut out for us," Jim Shulman, Chairman of the Task Force said. "Elder abuse is a very serious matter that affects one of Tennessee's most vulnerable populations." In studying the issue, Shulman said the group discovered areas that will be addressed to create a more coordinated and effective system to combat elder abuse.

The Chairman of the Task Force also said the group found that the creation of multi-departmental teams appeared to be an effective way to better understand and deal with patterns of abuse in Tennessee.

The goal of the task force and the proposed legislation is to protect vulnerable members of the population by enforcing harsher penalties, demanding more stringent requirements for reporting elder abuse and establishing other measures to protect the elderly.

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Reference: WJHL News (Johnson City, TN) (January 15, 2016) "Elder Abuse Task Force submits final report, recommendations to Tennessee General Assembly"

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