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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A bill that would increase investigations into abuse of elders and vulnerable adults received full support from the Senate on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 1163, authored by Senator Jessica Garvin, R-District 43, would enable district attorneys to create multidisciplinary teams, in coordination with the District Attorneys Council, to investigate and prosecute crimes committed against elderly or vulnerable adults.

“Our state has seen dramatic improvements since the creation of the multidisciplinary child abuse teams in the number of reported and prosecuted child abuse cases, so we want to do the same thing for our elderly and vulnerable adults,” said Sen. Garvin. “By collaborating with other entities already investigating and prosecuting these types of crimes, we can eliminate duplicative efforts, identify gaps in service, and standardize investigative practices. This will ensure these Oklahomans are better protected from predators and that abusers will be caught and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

The team would be comprised of a mental health professional, law enforcement agents that have experience or are trained in elder/vulnerable adult abuse investigations, medical personnel, coordinators, the district attorney, Adult Protective Services and the Department of human services.

The team will intervene in reports involving sexual abuse, abuse, neglect or exploitation of an elderly person or vulnerable adult. 

SB1163 passed the Senate with a 43-1 vote on March 8. It will now go to the House for further consideration.