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Elder Abuse Task Force Nears Completion of Final Report and Recommendations

MPLP Summer 2006 Elder Law Section Newsletter Article

Issue 31, Summer 2006

Elder Abuse Task Force Nears Completion of Final Report and Recommendations

The Governor's 17 member Elder Abuse Task Force which was created last year by Executive Order is preparing to conclude its work with a final report and recommendations. The Task Force is charged with identifying resources and changes in law that will assist in the prevention of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Its duties included:

1. Reviewing existing state efforts regarding the prevention and prosecution of elder abuse including physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and financial abuse and exploitation.

2. Identifying and prioritizing pressing issues and significant challenges that must be addressed to protect Michigan's vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

3. Reviewing laws, policies, and practices of other states and make recommendations for changes in Michigan to address elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

4. Recommending a process for the development of a widely accessible reference database of current information and research concerning elder abuse.

5. Providing recommendations to promote effective communications and coordination of efforts between the public and private sectors at both the state and local levels regarding the prevention and effective prosecution of elder abuse.

6. Reviewing and providing advice regarding the potential effectiveness of a public-private communications network throughout Michigan related to elder abuse, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and financial abuse and exploitation.

7. Reviewing other state practices and recommending approaches to develop dedicated local investigative teams that have the tools and legal authority necessary to effectively identify, investigate, and prosecute elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

8. Identifying new opportunities to support and expand research studies that document the scope and depth of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation in Michigan.

9. Providing recommendations for the development of training and technical assistance materials for investigation and enforcement professionals.

10. Providing recommendations for the development of a plan to generate public awareness of the scope of elder abuse, such as recommendations for public service announcements, editorials, community presentations and forums, website development, publications, and other materials to provide relevant information to the public.

To complete its responsibilities, the Task Force heard testimony from a variety of experts and created four subcommittees. Recommendations were clustered into six categories:

1. Enhancing public awareness, oversight, and accountability
2. Preventing physical abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect
3. Preventing financial exploitation
4. Successfully reporting abuse
5. Effectively Investigating abuse
6. Aggressively prosecuting abusers

The Task Force is now in the process of finalizing its wide ranging recommendations and classifying them as urgent, important, or long term goals. The draft recommendations are available at http://www.miseniors.net/NR/rdonlyres/0E5BFE7E-BD49-4088-BF87-82A36BD83E11/0/ElderAbuseTFRecomm.pdf and these recommendations should be updated in the near future. Task Force member Anita Salustro of AARP has been seeking comments on the recommendations and can be reached at Asalustro@aarp.org.

 


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