HONOLULU — A bill to increase penalties for crimes against senior citizens was signed into law by Gov. David Ige earlier this month during a ceremony at the Hawai‘i State Capitol.
House Bill 490 will enhance safeguards for kupuna by proposing an increase in penalties for intentional crimes against seniors 60 years of age and above, including intentional bodily injury, unauthorized entry into a dwelling, theft, or forgery.
“We have seen way too many crimes against our kupuna who are vulnerable to assault, theft and financial abuse,” said Senator Sharon Moriwaki (Senate District 12 – Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako, McCully, Mo‘ili‘ili), co-convener of the Senate Kupuna Caucus. “This bill will protect them by enhancing penalties for these crimes against our elders.”
This measure was developed through a collaborative effort between the legislature’s Kupuna Caucus and the various county prosecutors.
“Our kupuna deserve to feel safe in our local community and we must have these additional protections in place as a deterrent for any bad actors,” said Representative Troy Hashimoto (House District 8- Wailuku, Waihe‘e, Waiehu), co-convener of the House Kupuna Caucus. “If anyone decides to hurt or take advantage of our seniors, they will face harsher punishment.”
The Kupuna caucus consists of 53 Senate and House members, various state and county government agencies, community senior service providers and advocacy groups such as the Kokua Council and AARP.