New laws, programs in Ohio and Wisconsin target elder abuse

Two Midwestern states announced plans this fall to do more to prevent elder abuse. In Ohio, a new $1.3 million project will seek to raise public awareness, create an online referral system to report abuse, and establish new county-level collaborations. Much of the money for this new initiative is coming from a federal grant. This year, too, Ohio has expanded its mandatory-reporter law. Under HB 49, which took effect in September, many more individuals must report cases of elder abuse or face fines. The list of mandatory reporters now includes pharmacists, certified public accountants, financial planners, real estate agents and first-responders, among others.

In Wisconsin, an attorney general-led task force on elder abuse issued in October a series of recommendations: for example, create a special team of investigators within the state’s Department of Justice; strengthen the ability of financial advisors and institutions to block suspicious transactions; and stiffen criminal penalties and streamline or expedite court proceedings.

Elder abuse includes cases of neglect and abandonment; financial exploitation; and physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment. The number of reported allegations in Wisconsin rose by 160 percent between 2001 and 2017.
Stateline Midwest: November 20182.79 MB