TOPEKA — Three of the state’s most prominent law enforcement officers Friday committed to support legislation during the 2018 Legislature that would expand the definition of criminal mistreatment of an elderly person.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and the district attorneys for Johnson and Sedgwick counties endorsed a proposal to include the infliction of physical injury, unreasonable confinement or unreasonable punishment in the state’s legal definition of mistreatment.
Current state law prohibits financial abuse of an elderly person but not physical abuse, Schmidt said.
“As the population of senior citizens in Kansas continues to increase, we need to update our laws,” the attorney general said. “It is important that our prosecutors have tools available to them to successfully prosecute those who take advantage of or abuse Kansas seniors.”
In 2015, Kansas had nearly 400,000 residents who were 65 years of age or older.
The state’s elderly population is expected to more than double in the next 50 years, according to a Wichita State University study.
Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe and Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said they would press legislators to adopt the elder-law reforms during the legislative session that starts Monday.
“This legislative proposal will strengthen our ability to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community and hold their abusers accountable,” Howe said.