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"There Oughta Be a Law"

A Survey of Legislative Responses to Elder Abuse

By Gail Chirnoff Conway

Because of the vulnerabilities associated with growing older, seniors often fall victim to physical, emotional, and financial abuse. Many states are trying to address this problem through new laws that focus on the specific forms elder abuse takes and that tailor remedies to the needs of older people. Review of these new laws reveals wide variety in the approaches the states take. Although an appraisal of the relative efficacy of the various laws is too early, a survey of these statutory efforts offers a measure of steps taken so far and ideas for further development.

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