Long Overdue Legislation to Protect Iowa’s Elderly Is Official
"Hasn't elderly abuse ALWAYS been a crime in Iowa?"
Actually, until now, Iowa was the only state in the country NOT to make elderly abuse a criminal act. It's confusing, but previously, victims could sue and block their abusers from contact with them. That's it. Real, retroactive punishment was not always handed down. Now, there will be real, actual consequences for said abusers. And, it's about time.
What the new law does, according to KWWL, is increase penalties for theft against older citizens, and "adds a civil penalty for consumer fraud committed against someone 60 or older."
It also officially designates elder abuse as a crime, which would entail "the abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, isolation, or sexual exploitation of a person 60 or older unable to protect themselves."
We've been following this as it made its way through the Iowa legislature, and the final step was getting Reynolds' signature. That was a simple formality after passing unanimously through the House and Senate, but the bottom line is, as of July 1, 2022, you're not going to get away with it if you choose to exploit or abuse Iowa's elderly if they report it. According to Iowa's News Now, in addition to signing the bill into law, Reynolds also signed a proclamation recognizing June 15 as "World Elder Abuse Awareness Day".
Upon signing the legislation, Reynolds said
The safety and well-being of older Iowans is so very important and this bill provides greater reassurance that there will be consequences for those who target and harm them.
Iowa families and seniors deserve to know that we will not stand for any type of elder abuse or exploitation in our state
Frankly, it may still not be enough, but it's definitely a good move.