Lawmakers push new elder abuse bill - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Lawmakers push new elder abuse bill

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Several Birmingham lawmakers are taking a step toward fighting elder abuse. They joined Senator Cam Ward in Alabaster on Monday to update the progress of new legislation.

Researchers say 6,000 cases of elder abuse are reported each year, but these lawmakers fear many are not reported. That is why state lawmakers are pushing for this bill

According to experts, neglect and financial exploitation are the most common problems when it comes to elder abuse.

Sen. Ward authored the bill and Monday, he spoke to senior citizens in Alabaster about the specifics of the bill.

Part of that talk included sharing the story of Virginia Frick, who from 2006 to 2010 swindled out of $2.5 million by a man named Joe Giddens, a family friend who was appointed power of attorney.

Giddens received a penalty of 10 years in prison, the same as it would have been had he illegally gained $150 from his victim.

The proposed bill would make it a felony to commit such crimes, depending on the level and amount of abuse. It would also stiffen prison sentences for specific types of elder abuse.

The Alabama Legislature defined elder abuse last year and it will outline it with punishments this year. This bill would also make elderly abuse cases easier to prosecute.

This bill has already passed the full Senate and out of house committee. It's now set to go before the full house.

Sen. Ward says he feels that a vote will happen before the end of the legislative session and he feels confident it will pass.

Proponents of this bill urge seniors to contact their local lawmakers to show their support of the bill.

Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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