April 26th, 2017
RAPID EXIT

If This Is An Emergency Please Call 911

What Is Elder Abuse And When Is It A Crime

If you know of an Ontario senior who is being victimized by any one of these criminal actions, please call your local police agency or CRIME STOPPERS at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS)

Elder Abuse is most often defined as: “a single or repeated acts, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.” (World Health Organization, 2002)

Elder Abuse involves the following actions: Physical abuse, financial abuse, Emotional abuse, Verbal abuse, Sexual abuse, Neglect

Possible Signs of Elder Abuse:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Fear, uneasiness
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal or passivity
  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor nutrition
  • Missing personal belongings
  • Lack of food, clothing or other necessities
  • Unusual bank withdrawals
  • Unusual legal activity related to wills or other documents

While it is not a good idea to jump to conclusions, the signs and symptoms listed above should not be ignored.

Physical Abuse

Is the use of physical force that causes pain, discomfort or injury or that is excessive and/or inappropriate in the circumstance or (b) inappropriately administering or withholding of medications.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Overmedicating, withholding necessary medications
  • Inappropriate use of a restraint
  • Rough handling, shaking
  • Pushing, pulling
  • Slapping, hitting
  • Kicking, pinching, beating, twisting
  • Overmedicating, withholding necessary medications
  • Inappropriate restraint use

Possible indicators:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Unexplained bruising, burn marks
  • Unexplained “accidents”
  • Unkempt appearance
  • Signs of under/over medicated

Criminal Code Offences – Physical Abuse:

  • Assault (Sec 265 C.C.)
  • Assault with a Weapon or Causing Bodily Harm (Sec. 267 C.C.)
  • Aggravated Assault (Sec. 268 C.C.)
  • Sexual Assault With a Weapon, Threats to a Third Party or Causing Bodily Harm (Sec. 272 C.C.)
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault (Sec. 273 C.C.)
  • Forcible Confinement (Sec. 279 C.C.)
  • Murder (Sec. 229 C.C.)
  • Manslaughter (Sec 234 C.C.)

Financial Abuse

Any theft or misuse of money or property which include: household goods, clothes, jewelry, withholding funds and/or fraud.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Theft of money or belongings
  • Forcing a person to sell possessions
  • Wrongful use of power of attorney
  • Forcing someone to change his/her will and/or power of attorney
  • Fraud

Possible indicators:

  • Unexplained or inability to pay bills
  • Refusal to spend money without “permission”
  • Unexplained disappearance of personal belongings
  • Changed Power of Attorney or Will
  • Not spending money
  • Large unexplained withdrawal from bank account

Criminal Code Offences – Financial Abuse:

  • Theft (Sec. 322 C.C.)
  • Theft by Holding Power of Attorney (Sec. 331 C.C.)
  • Stopping Mail with Intent (Sec. 345 C.C.)
  • Extortion (Sec. 346 C.C.)
  • Forgery (Sec. 366 C.C.)
  • Fraud (Sec. 380 C.C.)

Emotional Abuse

Any action or behaviour that may diminish a senior’s sense of well-being, dignity or self- worth.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to treat a senior as an adult
  • Making decisions for a senior unnecessarily
  • Talking in a tone that suggests the senior is a child
  • Talking about the senior that suggests he or she is not part of the conversation
  • Threatening, insulting, intimidating or humiliating gestures, behaviour or remark Imposed social isolation including: shunning, ignoring, lack of acknowledgement

Possible Indicators:

  • Depression
  • Tearfulness
  • Exclusion from family gatherings
  • No visitors/ outings
  • Low self-esteem
  • Withdrawn
  • Psychological/emotional complaints

Criminal Code Offences – Psychological (Emotional) Abuse – Criminal Code Offences:

  • Intimidation (Sec 423 C.C.)
  • Uttering Threats (Sec 264.1 C.C.)
  • Harassing Telephone Calls (Sec. 372.3 C.C.) 

Verbal Abuse

Any form of verbal communication of a belittling or degrading nature which may diminish the senior’s sense of well-being, dignity or self-worth.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Shouting
  • Inappropriate tone of voice or manner of speaking which is upsetting or frightening
  • Any form of verbal communication of a belittling or degrading nature which may diminish the senior’s sense of well-being, dignity or self-worth.
  • Sarcasm, mocking

Possible indicators:

  • Witnessed or overheard confrontational or inappropriate language and tone of voice
  • Depression
  • Tearfulness
  • Fearfulness
  • Exclusion from family gatherings, no visitors/ outings
  • Low self-esteem
  • Withdrawn
  • Psychosomatic complaints

Criminal Code Offences – Psychological (Emotional) Abuse – Criminal Code Offences:

  • Intimidation (Sec 423 C.C.)
  • Uttering Threats (Sec 264.1 C.C.)
  • Harassing Telephone Calls (Sec. 372.3 C.C.)

Sexual Abuse

Any non-consensual touching, behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature or sexual exploitation directed towards an older adult by any other person.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual touching, fondling
  • Sexual assault
  • Inappropriate sexual language or joking of a sexual nature that is demeaning
  • Seductive language or acts
  • Suggestive comments
  •  Humiliating comments or behaviour of a sexual nature

Possible Indicators:

  • Genital infections
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Pain, bruising, bleeding in genital area
  • Emotional indicator including withdrawal, depression, fear, tearfulness

Sexual Abuse – Criminal Code Offences:

  • Sexual Assault with a weapon, causing bodily harm (Sec. 272 C.C.)
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault (Sec. 273 C.C.)

Neglect

The failure to provide a senior with the care and assistance required for health, safety or well-being, and includes inaction or a pattern of inaction that jeopardizes the health or safety of that person.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Failure to provide medical attention
  • Failure to listen and respond to expressed needs or concerns
  • Failure to provide proper nourishment and fluids
  • Failure to change incontinent residents or respond to calls for assistance
  • Failure to facilitate participation in activities and programs and other forms of socialization

Possible Indicators:

  • Failure to thrive
  • Malnourished, Dehydrated
  • Poor Living Conditions
  • Odor
  • Incontinence Products not Changed
  • Under/ over medicated

Active Neglect – Criminal Code Offences:

  • Failure to provide the necessaries of Life (Sec 215 C.C)
  • Criminal negligence causing bodily harm or death (Sec. 220, 21 C.C.)