2007 -- H 5770 SUBSTITUTE B
A N A C T
RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - ELDERLY AFFAIRS
Introduced By: Representative Richard W. Singleton
Date Introduced: February 28, 2007
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Sections 42-66-4.1, 42-66-8, 42-66-8.1, 42-66-8.2, 42-66-9 and 42-66-10 of
the General Laws in Chapter 42-66 entitled "Elderly Affairs Department" are hereby amended to
read as follows:
42-66-4.1. Definitions. -- As used in this chapter:
(1) "Abuse" means physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or emotional abuse of an elderly
person by a caregiver as defined in subsection (5).
(a) "Physical Abuse" means the willful infliction of physical pain or injury (e.g. slapping,
bruising or restraining) upon an elderly person.
(b) "Sexual Abuse" means the infliction of non-consensual sexual contact of any kind
upon an elderly person. Sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, rape, sexual
misuse or exploitation of an elder, as well as threats of sexual abuse where the perpetrator has the
intent and the capacity to carry out the threatened abuse.
(c) "Emotional Abuse" means a pattern of willful infliction of mental or emotional harm
upon an elder by threat, intimidation, isolation or other abusive conduct.
(2) "Exploitation" means the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized or improper act
or process of an individual, including, but not limited to, a caregiver or fiduciary, that uses the
resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, gain, or that results in depriving an
elder of rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets by use of undue
influence, harassment, duress, deception, false representation or false pretenses.
(3) "Neglect" means the willful failure by a caregiver or other person with a duty of care
to provide goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental harm or mental illness to
an elderly person, including, but not limited to, "abandonment" (withdrawal of necessary
assistance) and denial of food or health related services.
(4) "Willful" means intentional, conscious and directed toward achieving a purpose.
(5) "Caregiver" means a person who has assumed the responsibility for the care of the
elderly person voluntarily, by contract or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or who is
otherwise legally responsible for the care of the elderly person.
(6) "Self-Neglect" means a pattern of behavior in an elderly person that directly,
imminently and significantly threatens his/her own health and/or, safety. Self-neglect includes,
but is not limited to, an inability or an incapacity to provide self with food, water, shelter, or
safety to the point of establishing imminent risk of any of the harm(s) described in the
immediately preceding sentence.
(10) "Protective services" means services and/or
action intended to prevent and/or
alleviate the abuse, neglect ,exploitation or self-neglect of elderly persons. Protective services
may include supervision, counseling, and assistance in securing health and supportive services,
safe living accommodations and legal intervention.
(8) "Elderly person" or "elder" means any person sixty (60) years of age or older.
Abuse of elderly persons -- Duty to report. -- Abuse
and self-neglect of elderly
persons -- Duty to report. –
persons -- Duty to report. --Any person who has reasonable cause to believe that any person
(60) years of age or older has been abused, neglected, or exploited,
abandoned or is self-
neglecting, shall make an immediate report to the director of the department of elderly affairs or
Any In cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation, any
person who fails to make
report shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars
or shall be imprisoned
for a term of not more than one year, or both. Nothing in this section shall require an
elder who is a victim of abuse, neglect, exploitation or who is self-neglecting to make a report
regarding such abuse, neglect, exploitation or self-neglect to the director or his or her designee.
42-66-8.1. Abuse of elderly persons -- Telephone line. -- The director shall provide, for
the use of the general public, a statewide toll free, twenty-four (24) hour a day, seven (7) days a
WATS telephone line, to report abuse, neglect, exploitation and
self-neglect of the elderly.
Abuse of elderly persons -- Investigation of reports. –
exploitation and self-neglect of elderly persons -- Investigation of reports. -- (a) The director
of the department shall cause the report to be investigated immediately to determine the
surrounding the alleged abuse, neglect, exploitation or
cause. The investigation shall include personal contact with the
victim named in the report. Any person required to investigate reports of abuse, neglect,
or abandonment or self-neglect may question the subjects of those
reports with or
without the consent of the caretaker, guardian, conservator, person possessing a power of attorney
given by the subject or other person responsible for the elderly person's welfare.
When In cases of reported abuse, neglect and exploitation, when
deemed by the
investigator or other person responsible for the investigation of the report to be in the best
interests of the alleged victim, the interview of the alleged victim(s) shall take place in the
absence of the caretaker, guardian, conservator, person possessing a power of attorney given by
the subject or other person responsible for the elderly person's welfare, or any other person
responsible for the abuse, neglect, or exploitation
(c) In the event that any person required to investigate those reports is denied reasonable
alleged elderly victim subject of the report by the
caretaker, guardian, conservator,
person possessing a power of attorney given by the subject or other person responsible for the
person's welfare and the investigator determines that the best interests of the
victim elder require, the
investigator with the approval of the director may request the
of the local law enforcement agency to secure reasonable access to the
subject of the report.
(d) In the event that after investigation, the department has reasonable cause to know or
suspect that a person sixty (60) years of age or older has been a victim of: (1) an "assault" as
defined in chapter 5 of title 11; or, (2) an "assault" as defined in chapter 37 of title 11; or, (3) an
offense under chapter 10 of title 11, or has been a victim of "exploitation" as defined in this
chapter, the investigator, with the approval of the director, shall immediately forward that
information to the local law enforcement agency.
(e) When it is determined after investigation that protective services are necessary, the
department shall develop a protective services care plan and coordinate, in conjunction with
existing public and private agencies and departments, available and existing services as are
by the person abused, neglected, exploited
or abandoned or
self-neglecting. In developing
the protective services care plan, the elderly person's rights to self-determination and lifestyle
preferences commensurate with his or her needs shall be of prime consideration. If the elderly
person withdraws consent or refuses to accept protective services, the services shall not be
42-66-9. Obstruction of provision of services. -- (a) No person shall obstruct the
provision of available and existing services to a person sixty (60) years of age or older who has
abused ,neglected, exploited or who is self-neglecting
exploited, or abandoned.
For the purposes of this section, "obstruction" shall mean threats, intimidation, assaults and/or
whether physical or
psychological emotional, made with the intent
to prevent or dissuade
the recipient or proposed recipient from accepting, requesting, and/or receiving services available
under section 42-66-8. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be punished
by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500).
(b) However, nothing in this chapter is construed to mean a person is abused, neglected,
or in need of emergency or protective services
or is self-neglecting for the sole reason
that person is being furnished or relies upon treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in
accordance with the tenets and practices of a church or religious denomination recognized by the
laws of this state.
(c) No person shall deny access
by departmental staff to a person sixty
(60) years of age
who is alleged to be a victim of abuse, neglect, exploitation
or who is
self-neglecting, while the staff person is investigating a report made under this chapter.
42-66-10. Confidentiality of records. -- Any records of the department or other agency
to a person reported to be abused, neglected, exploited
or abandoned or
shall be confidential. The records shall not be deemed public and shall be considered records
under section 38-2-2(4)(i). The director may, however, disclose to the attorney general, any local
or state; or federal police officials,
appropriate courts, state departments, public or private
agencies, or medical personnel, pertinent information that is necessary to investigate reports of
neglect, exploitation, or
abandonment self-neglect, the
coordination of needed services, the
protection of the elderly victim or criminal prosecution.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.