The Canadian government is adopting stricter penalties for elder abuse. Learn about what elder abuse is and what to do about it.
When we think of the term “abuse,” we often think of domestic abuse or childhood bullying; however, there is another type of abuse that the Canadian government has recently brought to the country’s attention: elder abuse.
Bill C-36, the Protecting Canada’s Seniors Act, was introduced to the country last week. It will amend the criminal code and toughen sentences for those convicted of elder abuse. The Canadian government argues that these sentences should be tougher because seniors are more vulnerable than other age groups (minors are also protected in similar ways).
Forms of abuse that the elderly commonly face in Canada include violence, emotional abuse, neglect by caregivers (family or non-relatives), and financial abuse, such as credit card fraud, investment fraud, door-to-door sales fraud, and other scams. Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse in Canada, says the Canadian government, and abusers are generally well known to the victim.
The government recommends contacting the police, a doctor, a senior’s centre, or (in the case of financial abuse) a bank or credit union if you are the victim of abuse. Visit the Canadian government’s seniors’ website for more information.
According to news organizations, critics say that not enough is being done to target the underlying causes of, and social aspects that lead to, the victimization of elders in Canada, such as poverty. Still, many argue that this new legislation is a good first step.