AB 40 Mandates Elder Abuse is Reported to Ombudsman and Local Law Enforcement

Bill Update: AB 40 (Yamada) was signed by Governor Brown on September 27.

CFC Position:  Support

The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act determines procedures for reporting, investigating, and prosecuting individuals found to be abusing elders and dependent adults.  It requires certain individuals designated as ‘mandated reporters’ to report any act of elder or dependent adult abuse.  Mandated reporters are defined as people who have full or part-time responsibility for the care or custody of older Californians, whether paid or not.   If mandated reporters witnesses or hear of alleged abuse, they are required to report the event to either the local Long-Term Care Ombudsman or local law enforcement, depending on where the act occurs.

Unfortunately because of strict federal and state privacy standards, the local ombudsman is not allowed to speak with local law enforcement without consent from the victim of the abuse.  Due to fears of future harm, many victims will not speak up about the abuse.  This leads to many cases of abuse never being prosecuted.

Assemblymember Mariko Yamada’s AB 40, will address this issue by forcing the mandated reporters to talk with the local ombudsman, their licensing agency, and local law enforcement.  This will force mandated reporters to inform these entities via phone within two hours of becoming aware of an abuse case and they must also send a written report within 24 hours.

No longer will there be a conflict of how to inform law enforcement about abuse.  Instead of a confusing system of reporting, the local ombudsman and law enforcement will be able to work together to ensure a complete investigation is conducted, which will help to bring individuals abusing the elderly and dependent adults to justice.