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Elder abuse on the rise in Ontario communities

The mayor of Timmins has expressed concerns about the rise of incidents of abused seniors in his city, a problem that appears to be spreading throughout the province. Ontario families may already be aware that elder abuse, often carried out by family members of the victims, is one of the most under-reported types of abuse affecting the population. Thankfully, more politicians are drawing attention to this crime in the hopes of stemming its tide across Canada. 

At a conference organized by Elder Abuse Ontario -- a non-profit province-wide organization designed to address and report elder abuse and protect victims -- Mayor Steve Black opened the ceremonies with a commendation to those working with EAO. He rightly pointed out that elder abuse is becoming a widespread problem in Canadian communities, and lauded EAO's work to identify potential threats to the aging population. EAO uses the same definition of abuse as the World Health Organization, which points to an imbalance in power and control between an elderly person and his or her caregiver.

This imbalance leads many seniors to keep quiet about physical, mental and emotional abuse they may be suffering at the hands of a trusted individual, family member or professional caregiver. Experts at the conference pointed out that existing legal frameworks struggle to identify abuse scenarios because of the implicit understanding that a caregiver or close family member has the senior's best interests at heart. Sadly, this is sometimes not the case. 

Elder abuse is unique in that it targets people Ontario residents think of as adults. However, the truth is the elderly population is in some ways as much an at-risk demographic as children. Thankfully, with the support of a legal system championed by experienced personal injury attorneys in conjunction with the good work of organizations like EAO, elder abuse across the province and the country may see a decrease in the months and years to come. 

Source:, "Elder abuse a 'significant concern' says mayor", Frank Giorno, March 23, 2017

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