Types of Elder Abuse
Physical abuse (including sexual assault) is any act of violence causing or intending to cause bodily harm or physical discomfort.
- Signs to look for - unexplained injuries, unusual bruising and/or doctor shopping
Psychological/Emotional abuse is any action or comment instilling fear, emotional anguish or that diminishes self-esteem or dignity.
- Signs to look for - fear of certain individuals, abuser speaking for the senior or not giving the senior privacy when company visits
Financial abuse is any theft or exploitation of an individual’s money, property or assets. It should be noted that, unless there is a relationship between the victim and the abuser, all frauds and scams against seniors are investigated by the OPS Fraud Section.
- Signs to look for- overdue bills, unusual banking activity, mail missing, and seniors standard of living not in keeping with income or assets
Neglect, either intentional or unintentional, is a lack of attention resulting in inadequate supervision and failure to provide the basic and essential needs required.
- Signs to look for - unhealthy living conditions and unkempt appearance.
Elder abuse is rarely reported. Why?
Victims are often:
- Afraid of repercussion
- Dependant on abuser
- Afraid of institutionalization
- Feeling guilty or somehow at fault
- Feeling as if police cannot help
- Held back by cultural/ethnic values or beliefs
Family, friends, and service providers:
- Do not recognize the signs of abuse
- Do not know who to go to
- Do not want to get involved
- Have been asked not to report
- Are afraid of repercussion
- Feel there is a confidentiality issue
- Ottawa’s senior population is far from homogeneous
- Immigrants aged 65 and over represent an estimated 1/3 of Ottawa’s senior population.
- An estimated 51% of recent immigrants speak neither French nor English.
- Relocation and adaptation to Canadian culture may create additional stresses as a result of language barriers, discrimination and increased dependency on younger family members.
- While some groups have established strong networks or communities in this country, more recent immigrant groups may be spread out, resulting in isolation and loneliness, hence making them more vulnerable.
Police have access to language services 24/7 and the Victim Crisis Unit, as well as other community partners have access to numerous resources that can assist members of marginalized communities.