October 19, 2012 – Although more work is needed, there are many who are fighting against elder abuse and doing good work across the country. To better understand what is already being done, CARP Chapters were asked to gather information about their region’s efforts in combating elder abuse. We wanted to gather and share examples of good practices that support and build on the recommendations in CARP’s comprehensive approach.
Our Okanagan Valley CARP Chapter solicited information that gives us some insight into the efforts in B.C., a leading province in Canada in its work around elder abuse. The B.C. Government has recently developed and implemented its Senior’s Action Plan as part of their elder abuse prevention strategy. In collaboration with non-profits, health authorities, and community resources, BC has taken steps to end elder abuse. This is what B.C. has been doing:
Legislative Framework around elder abuse:
- Adult Guardianship Act that “promote every adult’s right to self-determination and provide support and protection for those who are vulnerable to abuse or no longer capable of making their own decisions”[i]; works in conjunction with the Representation Agreement Act, Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act, and the Public Guardian and Trustee Act.
B.C’s Victim Support Services:
- Community Response Networks, supported by the BC Association of Community Response Networks and the Adult Guardianship Act, are networks of community agencies, local businesses, and government agencies that work together to reach out to the community, providing help to adults experiencing or at risk of experience abuse.
- The BC Center for Elder Advocacy & Support programs that educate, support and advocate on behalf of older adults “to prevent elder abuse and to provide assistance and support to older adults that are, or may be, abused and those whose rights have been violated.” [ii] E.g. The BC Center for Elder Advocacy & support provided local training for community-based facilitators this year on financial abuse
- Elder shelters vary across the province, e.g. 6 safe homes for elders in the South Okanagan and 1 safe house in Kamploops where a furnished apartment is provided at no charge to a vulnerable adult for 30 days
Elder Abuse Hotline:
- BC’s Seniors Health Care Support: 1 877 952-3181, Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
- HealthLink BC: 8-1-1 any time of the day or night or go online to www.healthlinkbc.ca
- Hearing impaired services are also available by dialling 7-1-1
Reporting Elder Abuse:
- Reporting is voluntary except for anyone working for a Designated Agency (DA), who is required by law to report suspected criminal offences against vulnerable adults to the RCMP.
- Anyone can make a voluntary report to a DA.
- Legislation safeguards anyone who reports by keeping the identity of the person making a report confidential and protecting them from being disciplined for reporting in good faith.
- Each Health Authority and Community Living BC is a DA.
- Police and RCMP works with the DA to support the DA’s mandate, e.g. some RCMP detachments have developed special response programs or staffing to respond to and investigate abuse of seniors.
With the help of CARP’s Okanagan Valley Chapter, the above information was provided by Linda Myers, Clinical Specialist of Vulnerable or Incapable Adults at the Professional Practice Office of Interior Health, BC.
For more information on B.C. elder abuse resources, visit Interior Health Website.
For more information on the Community Response Networks and the Designated Agency in B.C., check out this video made by the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC.