PEORIA, Ill. -- A new state law to protect seniors from abuse and exploitation comes with tougher safeguards.
The state is creating an Adult Protective Services Unit responsible for investigating all suspected cases of abuse or neglect among the elderly. The unit now also includes the disabled.
That means the Center for Prevention of Abuse will be able to hire additional employees to help manage cases involving abuse of the disabled between the ages of 18 and 59.
Up until now, the agency's Elder Abuse program only investigated cases involving people 62 and older.
"Luckily there's going to be some funding to do that,” said Martha Herm, Executive Director for the Center for Prevention of Abuse. “Right now our elder abuse contract is a fee for service. So the more people we serve the more money comes in. So that allows us to hire more folks."
Herm says her staff will also receive special training to handle abuse cases among the disabled.
July is Elder Abuse Awareness and Prevention month in Illinois.