Abuse affects between 4 and 10% of older adults in Canada. Only one in five incidents of elder abuse comes to the attention of those who can help. Is this only the tip of the iceberg? Most likely, especially given the compounding challenge of a rapidly growing aging population.
The Division of Aging and Seniors is responsible for the public health component of the Federal Elder Abuse Initiative launched by the Government of Canada in June 2008. Other key partners in the Initiative are Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, the Department of Justice, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Division's focus in the Initiative is:
- to initiate collaborations with experts and key stakeholders in the field such as the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly; the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse; the BC Association of Community Response Networks; and other federal partners such as the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence; and Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Home and Community Care Program.
- to compile and assess the most promising public health interventions, including culturally appropriate strategies for health care practitioners in First Nations and Inuit communities, so that Canada's public health system may address the abuse of older adults more effectively;
- to examine the issue of elder abuse from a gender perspective, so that public health interventions may more appropriately screen, detect and respond to older women and men whose experience of, and vulnerability to, abuse may significantly differ;
- to develop and provide public health practitioners with up-to-date tools, so they are better equipped in elder abuse prevention and intervention; and
- to develop and disseminate key prevention information to target audiences, including education for youth to help foster positive intergenerational relationships and minimize ageist attitudes that are often at the root of elder abuse.
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