Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) introduced the Senior abuse Training and Offense Prevention (STOP) Act, which would create a specialized grant program to support law enforcement, first responders, and existing community efforts to combat elder abuse.
“In Minnesota and across the nation, we have seen instances of elder abuse in our communities that could have been prevented. We must do everything within our power to detect and report these crimes,” said Emmer. “This legislation would be an important step in providing law enforcement and our first responders with the resources they need to protect our aging community members."
"I have seen firsthand communities across Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District recognize the prevalence and seriousness of instances of neglect and abuse of our elderly citizens. They have come together to find collaborative partnerships to combat these terrible injustices. I am advocating for this grant program in order to bolster their existing efforts.” Emmer concluded.
This initiative arose out of a need to address ongoing instances of elder abuse. In Minnesota specifically, an investigation in 2018 by the Star Tribune uncovered a backlog of elder abuse complaints to the Minnesota Department of Health. 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.
The STOP Act would create a grant program to support various activities regarding the prevention, identification and eradication of elder abuse, ranging from training, multidisciplinary coordination, and even new divisions dedicated to addressing elder abuse. The grants would be administered and awarded by the Department of Justice on a competitive basis, and supplement 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.
"In Minnesota and across the country, local communities are on the front lines of the eradication of elder abuse. Federal funding for elder justice work is critical to address and prevent the abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of older adults. This STOP Act will provide much needed resources for training, coordinated community responses, and comprehensive victim services which are needed to address this often-overlooked issue." said Sean Burke, Public Policy Director of the Minnesota Elder Justice Center.
Read the text of the Senior abuse Training and Offense Prevention (STOP) Act here.