MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — After Jo Holcombe found out her mother, Shirley Smith, had been suffering under the care of her caretaker, she knew she had to do something about it.
She’s pushed for Shirley’s Law which acts as an “elder abuse registry for those convicted of abuse or exploitation of the elderly. She pushed for this law after her mother’s caretaker Veronica Wiggerfall was found guilty for financial exploitation of the elderly.
Wiggerfall was found forging checks and signatures in Smith’s name.
Ever since the law went into effect on July 1st, Holcombe and the Clay Rossi, the Assistant District Attorney say people have misconceptions about how the law works.
“There is no need to apply for Shirley’s Law,” said Rossi. “If someone is convicted of elder abuse or elder exploitations, they are automatically added to the Shirley’s Law Registry.”
People cannot file a case directly under the law, so if anyone who believes they have a case for it has to inform their police department and other legal officials to have the alleged abuser investigated.
Holcombe says abuse of the elderly is a problem, so don’t be afraid to speak out on it.
“I just think it’s to emphasize the only way we can stop it is if it gets reported.” said Holcombe. “If you tell the authorities and do it. Don’t worry about being embarrassed.”
Veronica Wiggerfall has been convicted, but she will be sentenced on November 8th.
The registry is not yet available to the public.