The Senate Finance Committee has unanimously endorsed a bill by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to help protect the elderly from abuse and exploitation. The measure now goes to the full Senate.

Hatch's Elderly Justice Act is designed to help the federal government collect data on the number of seniors being abused and provide more resources to prevent, detect, treat and prosecute mistreatment of senior citizens.

"With more than 500,000 Americans age 60 and over being victims of domestic abuse, the time is long overdue for legislation that will protect our nation's seniors from those who would prey upon them physically, financially and psychologically," Hatch said.

"This bill will help tackle this insidious problem that has often gone unreported and is one of the most serious problems facing elderly Americans and their families," Hatch said.