Escondido, CA

Protecting seniors from abuse

My Assembly Bill 728 will not allow convictions of elder/dependent adult abuse to be eligible for “expungement.”  An expungement proceeding is designed to have the records of a prior conviction destroyed, eliminated or sealed.  While current law allows expungement of criminal records under certain circumstances, elder abuse should not be included.  San Diego County alone handles approximately 9,000 cases of this type of abuse each year alone.  By preventing persons who have committed these types of crimes from re-entering the workforce in the same field, AB 728 will protect a defenseless population from suffering further offenses by those hired to care for them.

Secondly, my bill, AB 502, will establish a two-year pilot program in San Diego County permitting the Victim Compensation Board to reimburse victims of elder or dependent adult financial abuse for the costs of financial or mental health counseling.  When seniors are robbed of their life savings they don’t always know where to turn for help.  Many, sadly, resort to suicide or other dependence.  During 2014-2015, San Diego County’s Adult Protective Services confirmed a total of 1,148 cases of elder/dependent adult financial abuse.  With its large retiree population and high number of reported elder financial abuse cases, San Diego County is well-situated to implement this pilot program. Under provisions of AB 502, compensation will be limited to $3,000 per person, and essential data will be gathered to determine the overall effectiveness of this type of program in helping victims regain their dignity and restore their independence and self-respect.

Passage of these two bills will provide badly needed protections and assistance that will enhance and safeguard the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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