BROWN COUNTY (WLUK) -- The state introduced its plan to help fight elder abuse in Wisconsin Wednesday.
State Attorney General, Brad Schimel, announced his task force is recommending new legislation, agency action and resources for law enforcement to combat the issue.
“No one should have to live in fear,” said Sen. Pat Testin (R-Stevens Point), a task force member. “Our recommendations provide seniors with peace of mind, and reinforce that predatory behavior has no place in Wisconsin.”
The recommendations are five-fold.
First it will provide financial advisors and institutions with the ability to block suspicious transactions of financial exploitation against older adults.
Secondly, a universal incident report will be created by the DOJ for law enforcement to use across the state to ensure they are collecting the evidence needed for a criminal prosecution of a suspect in an elder abuse case.
The third recommendation is to increase penalties for those committing crimes against vulnerable populations, including streamlining the process for older adults seeking restraining orders.
Fourthly, expedited hearings and testimony preservation or older victims and witnesses who may have declining health.
And lastly, adding a specialized elder abuse team that would mirror the success of other states that currently have them. It is recommended to have five full-time positions, including a prosecutor, three investigators and a financial auditor.
Last year, Schimel created the task force to develop solutions to address the growing concern.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), from 2001-2017, reported allegations of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation increased 160 percent in the state.