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Representative Troy's bill on elder abuse reporting unanimously passes Ohio House 

November 16, 2022
Daniel P. Troy News

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COLUMBUS– State Rep. Daniel P. Troy (D-Willowick), working across the aisle in a joint effort with State Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), secured unanimous (86-0) passage yesterday of his House Bill (HB) 419. The measure aims to protect vulnerable seniors from the increasing prevalence of abuse, neglect, and exploitation by closing a loophole within Ohio's mandatory elder abuse reporting laws. 

“As legislators, protecting the health and wellbeing of our citizenry is of the utmost importance. This bill provides an excellent opportunity for members of the Ohio General Assembly to demonstrate our commitment to protecting vulnerable seniors and sends a strong message that Ohio will not tolerate elder abuse,” said Troy. 

Under current Ohio law, an individual who knowingly fails to report the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a senior citizen may be fined up to $500. However, as brought to Rep. Troy’s attention by the Lake County prosecutor's office, the law provides no guidance or direction for administering or collecting any imposed fines.

Often, this leads to judicial ambiguity and justice being unserved. This bill improves the current mandatory reporting laws by eliminating confusion and elevating the punishment for failing to report elder abuse to a misdemeanor of the fourth degree, thereby bringing it in line with penalties for failing to report child abuse.

According to Suzanne Casar, Director of the Lake County Department of Job and Family Services, the legislative changes in HB 419 are greatly needed. 

"As the law stands right now, it is incredibly difficult to hold those who knowingly fail to report suspected elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation accountable. The proposed changes to this legislation would encourage those individuals who have an obligation to report suspected maltreatment to take this responsibility even more seriously and ultimately benefit Ohio's vulnerable seniors," said Casar.

Prior to the pandemic, Troy was a member of a collaborative group in Lake County that studied and reported on elder justice issues. And as Ohio's aging population continues to grow, the issue of abuse is becoming more prominent. A recent report from Policy Matters estimated that nearly 214,000 instances of elder abuse occur every year in Ohio and, unfortunately, the vast majority go unreported.

The bill now moves to the Ohio Senate for its consideration.