Task force wants elder abuse laws to cover emotional abuse

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A task force formed to tackle the issue of elder abuse in South Dakota wants to expand the state's criminal laws to include emotional and psychological abuse of elders and adults with a disability in addition to physical abuse.

The task force says that 38 eight other states criminalize both assaults and emotional and psychological abuse, and it is recommending that the 2016 Legislature amend the state's criminal statutes.

The task force was created by the 2015 Legislature. It offers 16 recommendations for the upcoming legislative session.

It seeks to create a civil right of action that includes protection orders for abused, neglected, and exploited elders or adults with a disability and increase the penalty for theft by exploitation of an elder or adult with a disability.

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