On June 15 the Nelson Community Response Network (CRN) and the Nelson Elder Abuse Prevention Program (EAPP) are once again marking the United Nations World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).

Elder abuse and neglect are disturbing but often hidden and unreported events. Lack of recognition of the abuse, shame at being taken advantage of, and complicated interpersonal dynamics contribute to under reporting and lack of action against perpetrators.

Recently an excellent resource has come to our attention. The Canadian Centre for Elder Law has produced a summary of the Federal Criminal Code listings of chargeable offences for physical abuse, some forms of psychological abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse and criminal negligence (ccelderlaw.ca/federal-laws/). The chart above helps to clarify what are chargeable offences.

An older person may be hesitant to pursue prosecution because the perpetrator is someone they are reliant on. They may have health, memory or communication problems that complicate their ability to participate in court proceedings. Rather than a criminal trial a victim of abuse may consider requesting the police and Crown Counsel pursue a Peace Bond.

Please remember all elder abuse is wrong even if it is not a criminal offence. There are some supports to help an individual deal with an abuser.

Financial abuse is the most commonly reported form of elder abuse. Seniors may be pressured to share income, banking information, housing or to change their Will or other legal documents. Fraud by computer, a sales person or the misuses of a Power of Attorney (POA) are also common.

Being informed of the possible forms of abuse and having a variety of networks to consult, if you are concerned for yourself or others are the best source of prevention and early intervention. 

If you are concerned about possible abuse do not hesitate to reach out to trusted family members, your bank, friends, church, lawyer or the police. 

If you wish to learn more about the prevention of abuse or neglect and planning for your future please consult with: Nelson Elder Abuse Prevention Program: messages 250-352-6008 or nelsonelderabuseprevention@gmail.com or website nelsonelderabuseprevention.ca or the BC Community Response Network: heather.vonilberg@bccrns.ca or website www.bccrn.ca

Nelson & Area Elder Abuse Prevention Program