OLYMPIA – Earlier today, the House of Representatives approved legislation to help protect older adults and other vulnerable people from physical and financial abuse. House Bill 1153, sponsored by Public Safety Committee Chair Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland), passed the House on a 92-4 vote.
People who cannot care for themselves due to age, disability or disease must rely on caregivers to provide the basic necessities of life. These vulnerable people also often rely on others for their financial well-being.
The physical and financial abuse of the elderly and other vulnerable persons has reached epidemic proportions. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, nearly 1 in 10 Americans over 60 have experienced some form of abuse. In Washington state, Adult Protective Services receives thousands of reports of abuse each year.
HB 1153 will expand the scope of protection for the elderly and vulnerable. In addition, the bill will increase the penalties for both physical and financial abuse of a vulnerable person, and make it easier to bring charges and secure convictions.
“The elderly and disabled in our communities deserve our protection,” said Goodman. “They deserve justice and for their abusers to be held accountable for their crimes.”
House Bill 1153 now goes to the Senate for further consideration.