Focus on Elder Abuse
The South Dakota Judicial system wants to focus on elderly abuse cases. In his State of the Judiciary Address, Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson says he wants to increase protection for seniors. He says the number of senior citizens in the nation will double in the next 20 years, and he says the problem grows with the population. The Chief Justice says the most common form of abuse is financial exploitation. He adds that elders can also become victims to physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. Chief Justice Gilbertson says more abuse is due to a change in society.
"Gone are the days when the neighborhood remained stable, and each household looked out for its neighbor. Adult children of seniors often remain close by and even in the same household. Today, with increase mobility, divorce, declined birth rates, increased life span, and other factors, this stability, and to a significant extent, disappears," says Chief Justice Gilbertson.
Chief Justice Gilbertson wants lawmakers to continue focusing on elderly abuse issues. Last legislative session lawmakers unanimously passed a bill requiring mandatory reporting of known or expected elderly abuse. Chief Justice Gilbertson says that shows the state is serious about senior citizen safety.
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