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Legislature to Tackle Elder Abuse; Hearings Scheduled

December 1, 2003

For more information, Contact:
Daryl Savage at (650) 688-6384


PALO ALTO – Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today that the Assembly Select Committee on Elder Abuse will hold two public hearings on financial and physical elder abuse. Referring to increased incidences of crime on the elderly, he said, “It’s time. With our aging populations, particularly in our region, we can’t sit back and be passive about this. We need to confront the problem head-on.”

The two hearings, entitled, “Combating Elder Abuse: Next Steps for California, will address comprehensive issues of abuse affecting the State’s senior population. As Chair of the State Assembly’s Select Committee on Elder Abuse, Simitian hopes the hearings will lay the groundwork for legislation his Committee will introduce in 2004. “This is a huge issue. Elder abuse is reaching crisis proportions,” he said.

Simitian was appointed Chair of the Select Committee on Elder Abuse earlier this year. The Committee’s mandate is to conduct hearings, identify the causes of elder abuse, and if appropriate, propose legislation to address the problem.

Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy voiced his support for Assemblyman Simitian’s efforts, “These crimes are underreported, so it’s important that Assemblyman Simitian and his Committee shine a spotlight on the problem, and then work with the community to implement preventative measures and deterring penalties.”

The hearings, designed to develop a legislative “to do” list for the Committee, will focus on both the financial and physical abuse of the elderly. Panels of experts have agreed to address the Committee. The public will also have an opportunity to provide testimony at the hearings.

The first hearing is in San Jose at the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 70 West Hedding St., on Friday, December 5, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Panelists include representatives from the California Commission on Aging, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, the Palo Alto Police Department, the California Association for Nursing Home Reform, and Senior Adults Legal Assistance.

A second hearing will be held in Santa Cruz at the Santa Cruz City Council Chambers, 809 Center St., on December 10, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Both hearings are open to the public.

Simitian’s work on issues of elder abuse began when, as a County Supervisor, he helped to develop an innovative County program designed to combat elder financial abuse. In the Legislature, Simitian went on to author Assembly Bill 2140, which established a new crime – “battery on an elder or dependent adult.” AB 2140 doubled the existing penalties so that elder battery is now on par with battery of a peace officer or a spouse.