State laws protecting the elderly have been strengthened with the passage of the Protecting Alabama's Elders Act. The bill increases the legal protections from financial exploitation and physical or emotional abuse for anyone over the age of 60.
"Previously, such protection applied only if the victim was defined as physically or mentally impaired," said Attorney General Luther Strange. "Sadly, experience tells us that criminals repeatedly target older people as victims, and the law passed today is a strong weapon to combat this."
Under the new law elder abuse and neglect can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony and can carry penalties as stiff as 10 years to life in prison.
The bill was crafted by the Interagency Council for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. Attorney General Strange also commended the leadership of Senator Cam Ward and Representative Paul DeMarco who moved sponsored the bill through the Legislature.
The attorney General also thanked Commissioner Nancy Buckner of the Alabama Department of Human Resources and Commissioner Neal Morrison of the Alabama Department of Senior Services-- heads of the two agencies that, along with the Attorney General's Office, are leading the Council in its efforts to protect and prevent elder abuse—for their dedication to the legislation.
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