A bill to give disabled adults the same protection from abuse as children and seniors is headed for the governor's desk.
Governor Ed Rendell is expected to sign the measure, which would create a network to investigate abuse and neglect of disabled adults aged 18-59. Seniors 60 and older already have protection, as do children 18 and younger.
As of now, investigations are prohibited when police can't get statements from adult victims. In some cases, victims can't give statements because of their disabilities; at other times, the abused or neglected adult is reluctant to report the incident because he or she depends on the abuser for care.
Senator Patricia Vance wrote the bill. She says the investigative agency would open within the Department of Public Welfare.
Vance says cost has been a hurdle.
"They put the amount at six million [dollars] a year, which I think seems unreasonably high," says Vance. "This is just my own opinion. We sometimes appear to spend six million dollars on things that are not nearly as valuable as taking care of people that can't take care of themselves."
The bill passed the Senate in July and cleared the House September 28.