Bill to combat abuse against the elderly filed

December 24, 2012 12:43 pm 

MANILA, Dec. 24 — A bill seeking to address abuses against senior citizens and enhancing the penalties against violators has been filed at the House of Representatives.

House Bill 6690, authored by Rep. Maria Evita Arago (3rd District, Laguna), aims to develop strategies for preventing and punishing crimes that target or otherwise disproportionately affect seniors by collecting appropriate data to measure the extent of crimes committed against seniors citizens.

“The bill seeks to combat abuse against senior citizens and enhance penalties by developing a comprehensive process and strategy for the prevention of crimes against senior citizens by reason of their vulnerability and old age,” Arago said.

Arago said the bill mandates the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct a study relating to crimes against senior citizens.

The proposed Senior Citizen’s Safety Act mandates the DOJ to address other issues on crimes targeting or disproportionately affecting seniors, crime risk factors for seniors, including the times and locations at which crimes victimizing the elderly are most likely to occur, the nature and extent of crimes targeting senior citizens, such as health care fraud, and other effective ways to prevent or reduce the occurrence of crimes against senior citizens.

“The report, data and recommendations that will be gathered concerning the crimes committed against the elderly will be invaluable in enhancing the protection of our senior citizens,” Arago said.

Under the measure, the DOJ shall conduct a study relating to crimes against the elderly which includes the analysis of the nature and type of crimes perpetrated against seniors, with focus on the most common types of crimes,the nature and extent of elderly abuse inflicted and the nature and extent of health care fraud and abuse targeting seniors.

The study also includes analysis of the risk factors associated with seniors who have been victimized and the manner in which the criminal justice respond to crime against seniors.

The study shall also focus on the feasibility of establishing and maintaining a centralized computer database on the incidence of crimes against seniors that will promote the uniform identification and reporting of such crimes.

Arago said the DOJ shall review existing guidelines on sentencing and recommend the possibility of increased penalties for persons convicted of offenses in which the victim was a senior citizen, given the serious economic and physical harms associated with criminal activity targeted at senior citizens.

“The DOJ shall account for any aggravating or mitigating circumstances that may justify exceptions in order to provide sentencing enhancements,” she said. (PNA)

LDV/PR/EBP

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