2005 California Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 15600-15601 Article 1. Legislative Findings and Intent

SECTION 15600-15601

15600.  (a) The Legislature recognizes that elders and dependent
adults may be subjected to abuse, neglect, or abandonment and that
this state has a responsibility to protect these persons.
   (b) The Legislature further recognizes that a significant number
of these persons are elderly.  The Legislature desires to direct
special attention to the needs and problems of elderly persons,
recognizing that these persons constitute a significant and
identifiable segment of the population and that they are more subject
to risks of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
   (c) The Legislature further recognizes that a significant number
of these persons have developmental disabilities and that mental and
verbal limitations often leave them vulnerable to abuse and incapable
of asking for help and protection.
   (d) The Legislature recognizes that most elders and dependent
adults who are at the greatest risk of abuse, neglect, or abandonment
by their families or caretakers suffer physical impairments and
other poor health that place them in a dependent and vulnerable
   (e) The Legislature further recognizes that factors which
contribute to abuse, neglect, or abandonment of elders and dependent
adults are economic instability of the family, resentment of
caretaker responsibilities, stress on the caretaker, and abuse by the
caretaker of drugs or alcohol.
   (f) The Legislature declares that this state shall foster and
promote community services for the economic, social, and personal
well-being of its citizens in order to protect those persons
described in this section.
   (g) The Legislature further declares that uniform state
guidelines, which specify when county adult protective service
agencies are to investigate allegations of abuse of elders and
dependent adults and the appropriate role of local law enforcement is
necessary in order to ensure that a minimum level of protection is
provided to elders and dependent adults in each county.
   (h) The Legislature further finds and declares that infirm elderly
persons and dependent adults are a disadvantaged class, that cases
of abuse of these persons are seldom prosecuted as criminal matters,
and few civil cases are brought in connection with this abuse due to
problems of proof, court delays, and the lack of incentives to
prosecute these suits.
   (i) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature in enacting
this chapter to provide that adult protective services agencies,
local long-term care ombudsman programs, and local law enforcement
agencies shall receive referrals or complaints from public or private
agencies, from any mandated reporter submitting reports pursuant to
Section 15630, or from any other source having reasonable cause to
know that the welfare of an elder or dependent adult is endangered,
and shall take any actions considered necessary to protect the elder
or dependent adult and correct the situation and ensure the
individual's safety.
   (j) It is the further intent of the Legislature in adding Article
8.5 (commencing with Section 15657) to this chapter to enable
interested persons to engage attorneys to take up the cause of abused
elderly persons and dependent adults.
15601.  The purposes of this act are to:
   (a) Require health practitioners, care custodians, clergy members,
and employees of county adult protective services agencies and local
law enforcement agencies to report known or suspected cases of abuse
of elders and dependent adults and to encourage community members in
general to do so.
   (b) Collect information on the numbers of abuse victims,
circumstances surrounding the act of abuse, and other data which will
aid the state in establishing adequate services to aid all victims
of abuse in a timely, compassionate manner.
   (c) Provide for protection under the law for all those persons who
report suspected cases of abuse, provided that the report is not
made with malicious intent.

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