Early this month, there was a victory for seniors and dependent adults when Assembly woman Betsy Butler announced that Governor Brown signed her bill (AB 2149) banning gag orders in senior and dependent adult settlement cases. With California being the nation’s highest retirement destination and having the greatest number of elder abuse cases, it is imperative that seniors in California be able to communicate about elder abuse.
Seniors who bring claims under California’s Elder Abuse law are often asked during settlement to sign agreements prohibiting the senior from contacting or cooperating with law enforcement or government agencies. The practice is for the abuser’s benefit. It bars the victim to talk about the abuse and, consequently, allows the abuser to commit future abuse.
This bill is designed to restrict this practice. By banning agreements to keep the victims of elder abuse silent, the bill ensures that victims do not have to choose between receiving a settlement and holding their abuser accountable. Additionally, “[t]his bill allows seniors to protect other seniors” and “makes it harder for those how would harm the state’s seniors and dependent adults from hiding” says Butler.
“The California Commission on Aging believes it is critical for the appropriate investigative authorities to track and prosecute alleged perpetrators, ending the potential for further abuse. We are grateful for Assembly member Butler’s commitment to this issue,” said Commission Chair Bert Bettis.
Evans Law Firm, Inc. focuses on elder abuse litigation in California. If you believe that you or a loved one have been the victim of elder abuse, contact the lawyers at Evans Law Firm, Inc. toll free at 1-888-50EVANS for a free and confidential consultation, or firstname.lastname@example.org.