NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A3891
SPONSOR: Morelle (MS)
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to endan-
gering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or
physically disabled person
PURPOSE: To expand the definition of caregiver for the purpose of
sections 26032 and 260.34 of the penal law.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one of the bill amends subdivision 1 of section 260.31 of the
penal law to expand the definition of caregiver to include a person who
voluntarily, or otherwise by operation of law, assumes responsibility
for providing care for a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or
physically disabled person.
Section two is the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: The definition of caregiver in section 260.31 of the
penal law is limited to a person assuming responsibility of care of a
vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled
person pursuant to a court order, or receives monetary or other valuable
consideration for providing such care. This bill would expand the defi-
nition of a caregiver to include someone that is assumes responsibility
by other operations of law such as an appointed guardian or power of
attorney, or some someone that is voluntarily responsible for providing
Prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and elder advocates have been
frustrated by the limitations of New York's endangering the welfare of a
vulnerable elderly person law. By not including unpaid caregivers in the
definition, vulnerable older adults have been deprived of the added
protection they need and deserve. By expanding the definition to include
voluntary caregivers, the amended law will impose stiff criminal penal-
ties for inflicting harm on our most vulnerable populations, and will
serve as a deterrent to inflicting such harm.
Elder abuse occurs more often in people's homes than in institutional
settings and is largely hidden, shrouded in secrecy and shame. Studies
and reports from professionals in the field suggest that elder abuse in
domestic settings, is a widespread, escalating epidemic - a serious
problem that exists in every community and every neighborhood. Older
adults are often reluctant to reveal incidents of abuse, particularly
when the abuser is a family member or trusted acquaintance. When
mistreatment is reported, abusers should be held accountable for the
crimes they perpetrate against their innocent victims, and should face
stiff penalties for those crimes.
The recent New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that 141
out of 1,000 older New Yorkers self-reported that they have experienced
an elder abuse event since turning age 60. Seventy-six out of 1,000
reported abuse within the one-year period preceding the study interview.
Of the reported abusers, 88% were people other than paid home care
aides, including relatives, friends, and neighbors.
Recommendations developed during the New York State Elder Abuse Summit
identified the limited definition of caregiver as a barrier to prosecut-
ing many abuse cases. Expanding the definition to include all caregivers
who cause injury to a vulnerable elderly person or an incompetent or
physically disabled person will eliminate that barrier.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A.2781 of 2013: Referred to Codes
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after
it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2015-2016 Regular Sessions
January 28, 2015
Introduced by M. of A. MORELLE, ROBERTS, CRESPO, GUNTHER, BRINDISI,
LUPARDO, JAFFEE, LAVINE, SIMOTAS, ROBINSON, CLARK, WEPRIN, BRAUNSTEIN
-- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. GALEF, HOOPER, MAGEE, MARKEY,
THIELE, TITONE -- read once and referred to the Committee on Codes
AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to endangering the welfare of
a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 260.31 of the penal law, as
2 amended by chapter 14 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as
4 1. "Caregiver" means a person who (i) assumes responsibility for the
5 care of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically
6 disabled person pursuant to a court order[; or], or otherwise by opera-
7 tion of law; (ii) receives monetary or other valuable consideration for
8 providing such care; or (iii) voluntarily assumes responsibility for
9 providing care for a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or
10 physically disabled person.
11 § 2. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall
12 have become a law.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.