House OKs bill lowering elder exploitation age


STATE HOUSE – The House today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Jason Knight to lower the age at which a victim can be considered an elder under the state’s elder exploitation law.

The bill (2022-H 7246) addresses an inconsistency in Rhode Island’s elder abuse laws and helps ensure that all such cases can be appropriately prosecuted.

Although existing state law requires Rhode Islanders to report exploitation of any person age 60 or older, a person cannot be charged with elder exploitation unless the victim is at least 65. The bill passed by the House today lowers that threshold to 60 to match the reporting statute.

“This bill corrects an inconsistency to help ensure that cases of elder abuse are properly reported and prosecuted. It also protects a greater number of Rhode Islanders, and recognizes that elder financial abuse can take many forms. It isn’t limited to people who are no longer able to handle their own affairs, and our laws need to account for more possibilities,” said Representative Knight (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren).

The bill, which is cosponsored by Rep. Liana Cassar (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence), now goes to the Senate, which has already passed matching legislation (2022-S2228) sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence).