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More About Elder Abuse

It is estimated that by the year 2021, there will be as many senior citizens in Ontario as there are youth.  The dramatic growth of our seniors population is unparalleled at any previous time in our history. Increasingly our seniors are more frequently victims of crime. In order to address this problem, the Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers has partnered with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in developing a Senior Crime Stoppers program.

Seniors are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.

The Seniors Crime Stoppers initiative has been developed to address situations where seniors are being victimized by the criminal acts of others.  This criminal activity is typically broken down into four sub-groups, namely:

  • physical abuse
  • psychological or emotional abuse
  • financial abuse
  • neglect.

Physical/Sexual– this includes any assault and any unwanted sexual act.  This may include pushing, shoving, slapping, hitting, punching, kicking, over-medicating and forcibly confining someone into a room.  It also includes withholding nutritious food and appropriate personal care.

Psychological/Emotional– this included name calling, bullying, humiliating, insulting, frightening, threatening, ignoring an older adult and/or treating him or her like a child.  It may also involve the removal of decision-making abilities and withholding affection and/or companionship.

Financial– involves all money and property-related matters such as forcing the older adult to sell property, theft of money or belongings.  It also involves the taking and cashing of pension cheques, withdrawing extra money from a debit machine or credit card purchase.  It involves any form of fraud, forgery, extortion or misusing a Power Of Attorney.

Neglect– any form of intentionally abandoning a person, withholding food, health services, prescribed medication, care, nutrition or any basic necessities of life which could include hearing aids, dentures, eye glasses, etc.

Neglect can be further separated into three types:

  1. Active Neglect – an intentional failure of a caregiver to fulfill his/her care giving responsibilities.  This may constitute a criminal offence.
  2. Passive Neglect– an unintentional failure of a caregiver to fulfill his/her care -giving responsibilities (e.g. care related to dementia, Alzheimer’s, alcohol abuse, etc.)  This may not result in a criminal charge.
  3. Self-Neglect– the older person is not providing for his/her own essential needs, possibly due to social isolation, dementia or the misuse of medication or alcohol.  This is not a criminal offense.

Elder Abuse takes place in the home, the community, Retirement Homes and in Long-Term Care Homes.