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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: March 7, 2008

Sen. Ron Justice
Sen. Ron Justice

Bill Strengthening Penalties Against Elder Abuse Advances to House

A measure to better protect elderly and incapacitated Oklahomans passed the Senate this week. Senate Bill 1600, by Sen. Ron Justice, strengthens the Elderly and Incapacitated Persons Act by making abuse against these individuals a felony.

"I realize that most people are very cautious about the care of their elderly family members, but unfortunately some are not and that makes those senior citizens more susceptible to abuse because there is no one looking out for their well-being," said Justice, R-Chickasha. "This bill will help strengthen our current law to protect these individuals from any possible type of abuse."

The measure, which was requested by the Silver Haired Legislature, covers the crimes of assault and battery, aggravated assault and battery, assault with a weapon and caretaker abuse including verbal, physical and sexual abuse as well as exploitation. Under current law, most of these of crimes are misdemeanors.

"I'm honored to be carrying this bill because I do have concerns about the elderly in our state. A dear family member of mine was the victim of abuse so I know all too well how devastating and humiliating an experience like this can be for an elderly person," said Justice. "These are the people who worked hard making our state what it is today and we owe it to them to ensure that now when they have to be dependent on others they'll be protected and be able to live their lives in peace."

The bill now goes to the House for further consideration.

For more information contact:
Senator Justice's Office:  (405) 521-5537

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