Iowa’s new elder abuse law goes into effect on Friday
Elder abuse, including financial crimes and theft against older individuals, will become a specific criminal offense in Iowa on July 1. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who has proposed similar bills for the past several years, issued a statement in support of the new law. “I appreciate AARP Iowa for its hard work in getting this bill passed, and I thank legislators,” Miller said. “I hope this law deters and prevents abuse and exploitation, and I expect that the public will now understand that crimes against older people won’t be tolerated.” The law defines elder abuse as “the abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, isolation, or sexual exploitation of an older individual” — a person 60 years or older — and establishes penalties ranging from a serious misdemeanor to a Class B felony, depending on the circumstances and resulting injuries of the abuse. Previously, law enforcement and prosecutors had to fit cases into existing general crimes. Miller said the enhanced penalties are important because older victims often struggle to recover from these crimes. A video explaining the new law can be found at this link.