New law helps shield elderly from abuse

New legislation that gives police more latitude to protect vulnerable adults in Washington from abuse is now the law.
House Bill 1316, sponsored by state Rep. Melanie Stambaugh of Puyallup, was signed into law May 14 by Govenor Jay Inslee. It requires police officers to arrest, without a warrant, any person they believe has violated a temporary protection order shielding the elderly or disabled from abuse.
Previously, police could arrest a person without a warrant for violating a temporary protection order in domestic abuse cases, but not in cases involving vulnerable adults.
The new law, which the Legislature approved unanimously earlier this year, “corrects a serious oversight that has left our elderly and our disabled adult populations” at risk of abuse,” said Stambaugh, whose 25th District constituency includes east Pierce County. “This bill will make an important difference for many of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Stambaugh noted that Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist has said that his office prosecuted 70 elder abuse cases last year. The cases included physical abuse and financial fraud, such as gaining access to an elderly person’s bank account.