Volume 3, Issue 2

Robert A. Polisky

Elderly persons, particularly those who require care givers, are vulnerable to both physical and emotional abuse. In this note, Mr. Polisky discussed the rising problem of elder abuse and offers a solution to reduce its incidence. After a history highlighting the prevalence of elder abuse in care-giving situations, Mr. Polisky analyzes how tort law and criminal law inadequately redress elder abuse victims. Mr. Polisky concludes that state statutes which criminalize both physical and emotional elder abusive acts are the key to protecting the elderly from abuse because they punish the abuse itself rather than relying on proof of the act’s impact on the victim. Though some abusers have attacked these statutes on constitutional grounds of overbreadth and vagueness, Mr. Polisky argues that courts have already determined such claims constitutional. In closing, Mr. Polisky proposed model legislation which would best protect the elderly and other vulnerable adults form abuse.