Elder Abuse E-Bulletin June 2011 - Public Health Agency of Canada

Across Canada


A Guide to Supported Decision-Making

Each year, the Alberta government partners with the Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Network and participates in the international effort to raise awareness and prevent elder abuse by supporting World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. In 2010, a new guide was developed, providing information and knowledge about decision-making options that can help to protect individual rights and reduce the risk of elder abuse. A Guide to Supported Decision-Making: protecting individual rights and reducing the risk of elder abuse provides older adults, seniors, family members, caregivers and service providers with an overview of the current options available in Alberta to inform decision-making about financial and personal matters. The Guide is available on the Seniors and Community Supports website.

Protection for Persons in Care Act

On July 1, 2010, Alberta’s new Protection for Persons in Care Act was proclaimed. This new legislation replaces the former act of the same name and improves protection for adults from abuse while they are receiving care or support services funded by the Government. This new act emphasizes the importance of preventing and reporting the abuse of vulnerable adults. It requires publicly funded service providers to take reasonable steps to protect clients from abuse while providing care or support services. If an investigation of abuse does occur, the service provider must take necessary actions to prevent abuse from occurring in the future. Information about this Act is available at the Seniors and Community Supports website.

New Brunswick

The Abuse Prevention Program for Residential Facilities

This program was launched as part of the Government of New Brunswick's vision that all individuals should be able to live in an environment free of abuse and violence. The program offers workshops to staff of residential facilities with the goal of minimizing the risk of elder abuse. During the program, residential staff are informed about:

  • the types, indicators and precipitating factors of abuse/neglect;
  • the victims' and abusers' profiles;
  • the roles and responsibilities for reporting the abuse/neglect; and
  • prevention mechanisms to move towards a vision of collective response for the protection of vulnerable populations.

The Government of New Brunswick continues to strive towards a society in which all persons can live safely, with dignity and respect. For more information, please contact Jamie.Howie@gnb.ca or call (506) 444-4721.

The Government of New Brunswick also developed specialized forensic interview training for investigators in the field of elder abuse. The Adult Protection Interviewing Techniques teach the investigators the Step-Wise Interviewing Process. This interview protocol has three distinct goals:

  • to minimize any trauma to the alleged victim;
  • to maximize the quantity and quality of information obtained while minimizing any contamination; and
  • to obtain information in a manner consistent with the criminal justice system.

For more information, please contact Jamie.Howie@gnb.ca or call (506) 444-4721


Age Strong-Intergenerational Project – Respecting Seniors is Respecting Yourself

This project was jointly developed by Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services and the Centre for Families, Work and Well-being. HRSDC’s New Horizons for Seniors funded this project. Its purpose is to prevent elder abuse in Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario, by countering ageism as the root cause of elder abuse. After discussing the issue of ageism, high school students and seniors partnered together to design an information package with a feature rap video for use in high schools. The students directed the material to social networking sites and the rap video received over 900 hits in its first ten days. Numerous provincial, national and international organizations have expressed interest in the video and follow-up interviews. The video is available on YouTube for viewing.

72 Hour Stopover Program

This Program was spearheaded by a sub-committee of the Prevention of Elder Abuse Network (PEAN) for Hastings and Prince Edward Counties in southeast Ontario. As traditional shelters are not equipped to provide assisted living services for seniors, 11 local retirement homes provided support, food and lodging for older victims of abuse, for a period of up to 72 hours. A small grant from a local victims’ services organization has sustained this program. The program includes a clear ‘discharge’ plan at a significantly reduced daily rate as well as care services, including the organization of medications and possible referrals to community health services and supports. The individuals supported through this program have all moved into peaceful alternative living situations, free of abuse and with supports in place. The Program provides an important option for seniors who may be faced with an otherwise tragic situation. For more information, please contact Laurie French at: Laurie.French@se.ccac-ont.ca or Laura Hare at Laura.Hare@alzheimersocietyofbhq.com

Project Wisdom

Project Wisdom

This project aims to ensure that both health and social service systems dedicated to seniors are better equipped to appropriately respond to the growing ethnocultural and immigrant communities of Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario. Through various focus groups conducted in Arabic, Punjabi, and Uzbeki, the project promotes intercultural dialogue and understanding about elder abuse. It also raises awareness of the factors that place older persons at risk of mistreatment such as language barriers and accessing systems that are foreign to their own cultural norms. This project was funded by HRSDC’s New Horizons for Seniors Program. For more information, contact Ella Henderson at: ehenderson@is-gw.ca

Burlington Seniors Law Enforcement Together (S.A.L.T.) Council

Burlington Seniors Law Enforcement Together (S.A.L.T.) Council

The Council, a dedicated group of senior volunteers and law enforcement officers, received funding from HRSDC’s New Horizons for Seniors Program to translate existing resource materials into five languages. Now available in Urdu, Punjabi, Spanish, Arabic and Simplified Chinese, these resources help to better respond to the needs of Halton’s ethnically diverse population. In collaboration with Halton’s Regional Police Service and Multicultural Council, the Burlington S.A.L.T. also produced the Elder Abuse Information brochure on the types of abuse and ways to report it. This brochure, along with the Halton Police tip sheets on Frauds and Scams and Crime Prevention for Seniors were also translated into the five languages. Burlington S.A.L.T. is recruiting new volunteers on an ongoing basis to assist in presenting its promotional seminars in the various languages. The project was launched on October 16, 2010 at the Burlington Seniors Centre. For more information, please contact Constable Wendy Moraghan, Elder Services Coordinator, Halton Regional Police Services, at 905-825-4747 ext. 5064 or by email at: wendy.moraghan@haltonpolice.ca

British Columbia

B.C. Association of Community Response Networks

The BCACRNs played an important role in the development of the Ideal Response Tool and the Being Least Intrusive Tool. Both tools were chosen by the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE) for nationwide distribution. The Ideal Response Tool, based on the BCACRNs’ 15 years of experience with community response networks, is a set of indicators of promising approaches to develop effective community responses to address elder abuse. The Being Least Intrusive (PDF Document) tool is for use by mainstream, front-line responders who enter First Nations communities to offer culturally-sensitive support when intervening in suspected cases of elder abuse. It draws on concepts from two of the BCACRN’s key sources, namely, Promising Approaches for Addressing/Preventing Abuse of Older Adults in First Nations Communities: A Critical Analysis and Environmental Scan of Tools and Approaches (PDF Document), commissioned by PHAC under the Federal Elder Abuse Initiative (FEAI); and, the Vanguard Projects.

The BCACRNs is currently holding a series of knowledge exchange events, funded by HRSDC’s New Horizons for Seniors Program. These regional gatherings take place across B.C. to exchange knowledge about national, provincial, regional and local activities and research. During the fall of 2010, events took place in Castlegar, Penticton and Kamloops. These events have had outstanding results in promoting of increased interest and commitment to forming networks at the local level with support from the provincial association. Seven more events will be held across the province in 2011. For more information on the BCACRNs' projects, please contact April Struthers at: witworks@dccnet.com

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