Tyler votes to allow victims of elder abuse to testifyPublished 8:40am Friday, December 4, 2009
State Rep. Sharon Tyler this week voted to allow vulnerable adults who are victims in a violent crime to testify by pre-recorded video or closed circuit television.
“Elder abuse is usually committed by someone close to the victim – a family member or trusted caregiver,” said Tyler, of Niles. “Allowing victims to address the court through closed circuit television or pre-recorded testimony will allow them to testify without fear or being intimidated.”
An individual over age 18 is considered a vulnerable adult when age, mental illness or other disability necessitates the person receive supervision or personal care. Under current law, children and the developmentally disabled are provided similar rights in abuse trials.
“This is an important tool that will allow prosecutors to better go after those who target our most vulnerable citizens, and hopefully will encourage more victims to come forward,” Tyler said.
In Michigan, there are an estimated 73,000 vulnerable adults that have been victims of physical, emotional or financial abuse.
The legislation also establishes procedures for the state to handle elder abuse investigations.