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Florida politician proposes nationwide elder abuse tracking

Elder abuse is a major problem in the United States, where the crime is so underreported that there are few reliable statistics. It is believed that elder abuse largely happens in the home, where violence and humiliation can happen beyond the view of neighbors or the public.

When senior citizens can no longer take care of their own household, nursing homes and assisted living facilities take responsibility for caring for and protecting them. Nursing home abuse occurs when these organizations fail to protect residents from caregivers or visitors.

Psychological indicators for elder abuse span a wide variety of behaviors, but the risk increases among those who have already abused residents, family members or others in the past. As a result, a Florida congresswoman is one of the lawmakers championing a national database that track elder abuse.

The proposed bill "would create a national registry of elder abusers that accredited health care providers and the public could check before hiring employees who will work with seniors," according to the congresswoman's office.

Supporters of the bill cite statewide databases that currently exist across the country, which may provide the initial foundation for the project. The bill would also instruct the U.S. Department of Justice to create guidelines for other states that wish to make their own databases.

Victims of elder abuse in nursing homes are entitled to face their abusers in civil or criminal court to ensure that aggressors are punished. Victims may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering as well.

Source: Sunshine State News, "Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Proposes a National Database Tracking Elder Abuse," Kevin Derby, Sep. 30, 2017

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