Elder abuse a "hidden crime" MPs say
Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto Star
OTTAWA—A criminal crackdown and greater public awareness are needed to combat the growing problem of elder abuse in Canada, which leaves thousands of seniors “wounded and frightened” every year, a new study says.
Just as society turned a blind eye to child and spousal abuse decades ago, abused seniors are suffering from the same neglect today, warns an all-party committee of MPs.
Their report issued Thursday calls for a “cultural transformation” to ensure that elder abuse is seen as “absolutely unacceptable.”
“I’m shocked at the lack of awareness. If we can build awareness and just make it wrong, the way we did with spousal and child abuse then people will be more apt to break the cycle of silence,” Liberal MP Frank Valeriote said.
The report estimates that 400,000 seniors are abused each year in Canada, often by someone they know — a family member, caregiver, neighbour or landlord.
“That’s why there is so much abuse and it’s so unreported. Seniors are vulnerable psychologically but they’re also dependent . . . they don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them,” said Valeriote, one of the co-chairs of the committee that wrote the report.
To read the full article: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1088821--elder-abuse-a-hidden-crime-mps-say