Crime prevention and community safety > Elder abuse

Elder abuse

The abuse of elderly persons is a growing concern to the Toronto Police Service due to an increasing seniors population and its reliance on caregivers to maintain levels of independence. Vulnerable persons are also a target for abuse due to an increasing trend encouraging independent community living.

The elderly and the vulnerable are hesitant to report their victimization for a variety of reasons. In conjunction with the community agencies serving the elderly and vulnerable, the Service is working to encourage the reporting of abuse and to ensure that all complaints of abuse are fully investigated in a timely manner.

The goals of the Service regarding the abuse of elderly or vulnerable persons are:
* to reduce the incidence of the abuse of the elderly or vulnerable persons in the community
* to investigate all occurrences thoroughly and to bring offenders to justice wherever possible
* to ensure the safety of victims through prompt action including referrals to other community partners


Definitions

Abuse: means harm done to anyone by a person in a position of trust or authority
Elderly Person: means a person over the age of 65
Harm: means physical abuse (includes sexual abuse), psychological abuse, financial abuse or neglect, or any combination thereof
Incompetent: means a person incapable of managing their day to day affairs, thus making them vulnerable to abuse
Vulnerable Person: means any adult who by nature of a physical, emotional or psychological condition is dependent on other persons for care and assistance in day to day living


Types of abuse
Physical
Emotional
Financial
Neglect
Indicators of physical abuse
Cuts and bruises
Unexplained injuries
Poor skin condition
Burns
Indicators of emotional abuse
Helplessness
Hesitation to talk openly
Depression/Denial
Fear
Agitation
Indicators of financial abuse
Power of Attorney has been changed
Lost jewelry or silverware
Not having the funds for the necessaries of life
Necessaries of life denied or not provided by the Power of Attorney
Signing legal documents they do not understand
Indicators of neglect
Senior is inadequately clothed
Senior is malnourished or dehydrated
Senior has an untreated medical condition or injury
History of accidents or injuries
Caregiver is not meeting health care needs for the senior

Elder abuse may happen to any older person regardless of gender, culture, race, financial status, mental or physical condition. Abuse may occur more frequently to those older persons who are socially isolated.

If you or someone you know needs support, please contact the distress centre: (416) 598-1121 or (416) 486-1456

Report abuse by calling:
Police: (416) 808-2222
Crime Stoppers: (416) 222-TIPS (8477)

The police will investigate, and lay charges where appropriate.

To obtain further information or guidance, you may call any clergy, doctor, lawyer, public health nurse or social worker.

You may also contact the Toronto Police Elder Abuse Co-ordinator:
Phone: (416) 808-7040
Fax: (416) 808-7052
e-mail: CommunityPrograms@TorontoPolice.on.ca