January 27, 2012 – CARP was invited to participate in a roundtable event on Elder Abuse hosted by Alice Wong, Federal Minister of State for Seniors. The roundtable on January 20th brought together experts in the field to share experience and research on a range of issues in elder abuse, including prevalence of the crime and recommendations for action.
CARP has called for a systemic and comprehensive approach to combating and ending elder abuse in Canada.Chief among our recommendations for immediate action was stiffer sentencing for elder abuse. It became an election promise and the anticipated bill to amend the criminal code signals the federal government’s recognition of the problem. But more needs to be done to end elder abuse.
CARP’s recommendations are directed ending Elder Abuse not just raising awareness about it. Indeed, the 2012 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day [June 15th] should be renamed the Year to End Elder Abuse.
CARP made a formal submission to Minister Wong that calls for a comprehensive approach to punish the most egregious manifestations of elder abuse but also to prevent the abuse from occurring in the first place. In order to prevent, detect, investigate, prosecute, and end elder abuse, CARP recommends the following actions:
1. Elder Abuse Hot Line – single point of first contact: 911 or a 1-800 line – widely known across the country, with the capacity to re-direct to local service agencies, and sensitive to diverse cultural and linguistic needs. 911 already has this capability but needs to be assigned this mandate and local service agencies must exist and be properly resourced.
2. Duty to Report reflects social responsibility. Elder abuse is a public crime, not just a personal matter, as with spouse abuse reporting protocols. There must be clear guidelines for action and intervention, protection and the professional investigative capacity to respond to such reporting.
3. Added Caregiver Support – greater support of the estimated 2.7 million Canadians now caring for loved ones at home by providing targeted financial support, especially to those providing heavy care, workplace protection, respite, and work-leave and integrating support for informal caregivers with the formal health system, through training and clinical support.
4. Specialized Investigative Support – for existing criminal offenses.
5. Expedite passage of provision for Exacerbated Sentencing – for hate crimes and breach of trust already in the Criminal Code, promised during the recent federal election.
6. New Criminal Offence of Elder Abuse – if warranted following a review.
7. Victim Support Services and elder shelter – ensure uniform and adequate access to specialized support across the country.
In addition to hearing from CARP Advocacy in Toronto, Minister Wong heard from CARP members at her roundtable event in British Columbia.
To read the first hand accounts from chapter members in BC, click here
To read CARP’s full submission on Elder Abuse, click here.
To read a brief of CARP’s submission on Elder Abuse, click here.
Z News was there to capture the event – watch the coverage here: