Kansas Attorney General proposing to strengthen elder abuse laws

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Attorney General, along with the Johnson and Sedgwick County DA's, announced they plan to ask the Kansas Legislature to strengthen the state's laws against elder abuse.

Kansas AG Derek Schmidt, Johnson County DA Stephen Howe and Sedgwick County DA Marc Bennett said their proposal would expand the definition of criminal mistreatment of an elder person to include infliction of physical injury, unreasonable confinement or unreasonable punishment. It would also include violations of the guardian or conservator laws. Derek Schmidt's office says current statute prohibits financial abuse but not physical abuse.

“As the population of senior citizens in Kansas continues to increase, we need to update our laws,” Schmidt said. “It is important that our prosecutors have tools available to them to successfully prosecute those who take advantage of or abuse Kansas seniors.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2015, Kansas is home to about 397,000 people age 65 or older.

“This legislative proposal will strengthen our ability to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community and hold their abusers accountable,” Howe said.

“Sedgwick County was pleased to contribute to this important legislation that will serve to enhance the safety of Kansas seniors,” Bennett said.

The 2018 Kansas Legislative session begins next week.