CFC supports SB 558 – Elder Abuse and Neglect

Bill Update: SB 558 (Simitian) was approved by the Senate by a vote of 21 to 14. The bill recently passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee by a vote of 7 to 3, and now awaits a hearing in Assembly Appropriations.

CFC Position: Support

The Consumer Federation of California supports SB 558 (Simititan) because it would allow elder abuse to be enforced using a preponderance of the evidence standard.

As the bill author noted, "It is estimated that over 132,000 elders in California are abused every year. However, for every abuse reported, research has found that at least 5 others go unreported, making the actual number of abused people much higher than the reported rate. Studies show that neglect and abuse of nursing home residents have reached epidemic proportions. A report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that at least 91% of homes have been cited for health and safety deficiencies. Yet many residents who suffer neglect and abuse find it virtually impossible to seek justice in court."

This bill will strengthen protections for California’s most vulnerable consumers: seniors. SB 558 (Simitian) will empower elderly adults and their advocates to pursue necessary legal protection. 

Current law provides elder abuse civil cases are litigated with a higher legal standard than what is used in civil financial abuse cases: clear and convincing evidence. This bill would correct this anomaly, and give seniors and senior advocates a more appropriate, effective tool for holding elder abusers accountable.

For Committee analysis click here.