HARRISBURG – The House of Representatives took a firm stand against elder abuse when it approved House Bill 1431
, part of a package of anti-elder abuse legislation, its sponsor, Rep. Kate Klunk (R-Hanover) said.
“My House Bill 1431 seeks to end the horrifying practice of caretakers taking, posting or sharing demeaning and humiliating images and videos of any care-dependent person, such as a senior citizen in a care facility,” Klunk said. “Sadly, we have all read about these despicable acts in the news including headlines about caretakers filming care dependent individuals being forced to chase their food or taking photos of them in very compromising situations.”
Pennsylvania’s current law has not kept up with the ever-changing world of how we communicate, and how some people use the internet to spread degrading images. Klunk’s bill addresses this oversight by grading this type of abuse a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500.
House Bill 1431, which now goes to the Senate for consideration, is part of a package of legislation that includes House Bills 975
“Coincidentally, June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month, making these bills particularly timely. However, people should be aware of elder abuse every day of the year,” Klunk said. “It is my hope these bills will help end this terrible crime and help spread awareness so no senior citizen has to endure these horrible acts.”
Signs of abuse are isolation, weight loss, bruises or broken bones, increased confusion, unusual withdrawals from bank accounts, and signing over a home to another person.
If you are the victim of elder abuse, or if you suspect someone you know is a victim, please don’t hesitate to report it. Report incidents to your local police department by calling 911 or call the state’s 24-hour abuse hotline at 1-800-490-8505.
Representative Kate A. Klunk
169th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross