Law to help protect state’s senior citizens signed

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elder-abuse-law-sb18A plan by Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, to enhance penalties against those who repeatedly abuse the elderly was signed into law last week by Gov. Schwarzenegger.

“California’s senior citizens and their families will rest easier knowing that my new law will help protect them from abuse,” the Long Beach Democrat said. “Elder abuse for far too long has been a hidden, pervasive and deadly crime where out of 5 million recent cases, a shocking 84 percent went unreported.”

Effective Jan. 1, 2010, Senate Bill 18 will increase fines on those who abuse dependent adults and senior citizens 65 and older. Specifically, for second offenses, it would:

  • Increase from $6,000 to $10,000 fines for those found guilty of placing an elder or dependent adult in situations where great bodily harm or death is likely.
  • Increase from $2,000 to $5,000 the fine for those found guilty of placing an elder or dependent adult in dangerous situations not likely to cause death or serious bodily injury.

SB 18 has had broad, bipartisan support and was endorsed by the California District Attorneys Association; the California State Sheriffs Association; the California Commission on Aging; the Alzheimer’s Association; and various community and state organizations.

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