SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, is working to address the underreporting of elder abuse through recently introduced legislation, which would require suspicious deaths of seniors to be reported to the appropriate authorities.
“Instances of elder abuse often go unreported, and when a senior’s death seems to be linked to abuse or neglect, it needs to be properly investigated,” said Stuart. “My bill expands requirements for mandated reporters who work with older adults, helping state officials and law enforcement identify potentially harmful situations and better protect our seniors.”
It is estimated that only between one in 14 and one in 23 instances of elder abuse and neglect are actually reported. To help remedy this, Stuart introduced House Bill 43, which requires mandated reporters to notify the Illinois Department on Aging (DOA) if they suspect an elderly person died as a result of neglect or abuse. The measure came from Stuart’s work on Illinois’ Elder Abuse Task Force, which met over the past two years to look into ways to combat abuse of seniors.
“Illinois is seeing a growing aging population, and protecting our seniors against neglect and abuse needs to be a top priority,” said Stuart. “I look forward to passing this bill into law to improve identification, reporting and prevention of elder abuse cases, and make sure we’re keeping our seniors safe.”