Gov. Gray Davis signed a bill Tuesday designed to combat elder abuse.
State Assemblyman Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, who authored the bill, said the legislation received bipartisan support from the beginning.
“[The bill] will help protect our seniors and dependent adults from physical abuse by increasing punishments for those who batter our elders.”
The legislation establishes a new crime, “battery on an elder or dependent adult,” and sets the punishment at a fine of up to $2,000 and/or imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year.
Those enhancements put elder battery on par with battery of a peace officer or spouse.
The maximum penalties in Simitian's bill double those in existing law.
The bill also protects elders when they are third-party victims, rather than the intended or primary victim.