Three of Kansas’s most prominent law enforcement officers recently announced their commitment to support legislation during the current state legislature that would expand the definition of criminal mistreatment of an elderly person.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and the district attorneys for Johnson and Sedgwick counties have endorsed a proposal to include the infliction of physical injury, unreasonable confinement, or unreasonable punishment in the state’s legal definition of mistreatment.
Current Kansas law prohibits financial abuse of an elderly person, but not physical abuse. “As the population of senior citizens in Kansas continues to increase, we need to update our laws,” the attorney general said.
“It is important that our prosecutors have tools available to them to successfully prosecute those who take advantage of or abuse Kansas seniors.” In 2015, Kansas had almost 400,000 residents who were 65 years of age or older. The state’s elderly population is also expected to more than double in the next 50 years, according to a Wichita State University study.
Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe and Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said they would ask state legislators to adopt the elder law reforms during the legislative session that has just begun. “This legislative proposal will strengthen our ability to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community and hold their abusers accountable,” Howe said.
Reference: Topeka Capital-Journal (January 5, 2018) “Prosecutors in Kansas to advocate for reform of state’s elder-abuse law”