Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) introduced legislation to support law enforcement, first responders, and community groups in their mission to eradicate elder abuse.
The Senior abuse Training and Offense Prevention (STOP) Act would create a specialized grant program designed to identify, combat, and prevent the abuse of aging Americans. Congressman Emmer initially introduced this legislation in response to ongoing instances of elder abuse and the backlog of complaints at the Minnesota Department of Health, which was uncovered by the Star Tribune in 2018. The report showed that a vast majority of complaints were never resolved, and perpetrators were not brought to justice due to the lack of staff, experience, and time.
“Elder abuse prevention should be a top priority for our communities, our state, and our government. Amidst a crisis which forced aging Americans indoors, isolated from their loved ones - now more than ever - our focus should be on their safety and well-being. We must do everything within our power to detect, report, and prevent these crimes," said Emmer.
"After Minnesotans learned of the backlog of elder abuse complaints, we were appalled. We must commit to each other to do more as a community. Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District has examples of incredible programs that recognize the prevalence of neglect and abuse of our elderly citizens. These programs have established collaborative partnerships to combat these terrible injustices, and I commend them for their efforts,” Emmer concluded.
"In Minnesota and across the country, local communities are on the frontlines of the eradication of elder abuse. Federal funding for broad elder justice work is critical to address and prevent the abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of older adults. This STOP Act is one tool that can help build resources for training, coordinated community responses, and comprehensive victim services that address this often-overlooked issue," said Amanda Vickstrom, Executive Director of the Minnesota Elder Justice Center.
Specifically, the STOP Act would create a grant program supporting efforts ranging from training, multidisciplinary coordination, and even new law enforcement divisions dedicated to addressing elder abuse. The grants would be administered and awarded by the Department of Justice on a competitive basis, supplementing their existing law enforcement programs. A portion of the awarded funds would also go towards measuring the effectiveness of the effort to combat elder abuse.
Read the text of the Senior abuse Training and Offense Prevention (STOP) Act here.