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African Studies
AFRI 401
Rick Schultz

Running head: PROTECTIVE SERVICES FOR AT RISK ADULTS 1 Senate Bill 12-078 - Protective Services for at Risk Adults Josh Passburg Denver School of Nursing PROTECTIVE SERVICES FOR AT RISK ADULTS 2 Abstract Senate Bill 12-078 – “Protective services for at risk adults” was enacted on May 29, 2012. The legislation defines the role the state will play in addressing at risk elderly abuse in the state of Colorado. The bill defines what constitutes abuse, who is at risk, how to report suspected or known abuse, and outlines the protective services the state will provide to those at risk. The legislation was enacted in response to the growing number of incidences of elderly abuse in the state of Colorado. A significant part of the bill is the creation of the “Elder Abuse Task Force”. The bill gives the state authority to better provide protective services to the at risk elderly population in Colorado. PROTECTIVE SERVICES FOR AT RISK ADULTS 3 Introduction A significant portion of the elderly population is unable to take complete care of themselves and require some form of assistance. The type and degree of assistance varies from individual to individual. Some older Americans simply need a ride to the store to run an errand, whereas others require a care provider to be with them around the clock due to a mental or physical inability to appropriately and adequately care for themselves. The prevalence of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of the elderly is not precisely known. According to the National Resarch Council (2003), between 1 and 2 million residents of the United States age 65 or older have been abused, neglected, or exploited by persons on whom they depended for care or protection. Senate Bill 12-078 of was enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado on May 29, 2012 to add legislation aimed to provided protective services for those adults who are at risk for abuse. Discussion Senate Bill 12-078 – “Protective services for at risk adults – elder abuse task force” was introduced to address the mistreatment, self-neglect, and exploitation of at risk adults. The bill outlines the state’s role in addressing abuse against at risk adults. The bill was created due to the growing number of incidences of abuse against at risk adults. The bill outlines protective services that will be provided by the state to prevent the abuse of at risk adults. These services include: receiving and investigating reports of abuse, providing casework and counseling services, and arranging/coordinating/delivering/monitoring services including medical care for physical or mental health needs, protection from mistreatment, assistance with application for public benefits, referral to community service providers, and initiation of probate proceedings. The bill outlines/defines what populations are most at risk, what constitutes mistreatment, abuse, PROTECTIVE SERVICES FOR AT RISK ADULTS 4 and neglect, reporting requirements, and responsibilities of those conducting an investigation. The bill also outlines the creation of the “Elder Abuse Task Force”, detailing the scope of their duties and responsibilities. The bill defines an at-risk adult as an individual eighteen years of age or older who is susceptible to mistreatment, self-neglect, or exploitation because the individual is unable to perform or obtain services necessary for his or her health, safety, or welfare, or lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his or her person or affairs. Caretakers who assume responsibility for the care of an at risk adult as a result of a family or legal relationship. Caretakers are predominately the ones who are committing the acts of mistreatment, self-neglect, or exploitation. The bill is very specific in what defines each of these forms of abuse, clearly drawing a line for what will constitute a prosecution of those committing the acts of abuse. Reporting abuse According to Lachs & Pillemer (2004), only 1 in 25 cases of elderly abuse, neglect, or exploitation are reported. A part of the bill outlines the reporting requirements of suspected abuse. The state relies on reporting from those individuals who have access to the at-risk adults/property. From physicians, medical examiners, and nurses to social workers, dentists, police officers, and personnel of banks. The state urges these individuals to make an oral report with
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