TORONTO POLICE ELDER ABUSE SERVICES
“In our role as first responders, we are likely to find ourselves interacting with older adults living in difficult circumstances that are not easily remedied via authorities we are most familiar with. When older adults are isolated, we may be the first, or only, point of contact they have with the ‘outside world’, and their only chance of getting help.”
source: Elder Abuse and Neglect A Guide for Police Officers
“In conjunction with the community agencies serving the elderly and vulnerable, the Service is working to encourage the reporting of abuse and to ensure that all complaints of abuse are fully investigated in a timely manner.”
Elder abuse may occur as physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse or neglect.
Toronto Police Elder Abuse Services aims to:
- Reduce elder abuse incidents in the community.
- Investigate all incidents and bring offenders to justice when possible.
- Ensure the safety of elder abuse victims through quick actions including referrals to other community partners.
Toronto Police Elder Abuse Services has published ‘Elder Abuse and Neglect A Guide for Police Officers’ covers the following topics to help train police officers who are first responders in elder abuse prevention:
- What is Elder Abuse, Types and Warning Signs - physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse or neglect.
- Warning signs of abuse or elder mistreatment.
- Financial abuse - stealing money, pension checks or using bank or credit cards without consent or transferring money through joint accounts, intimidating an older person to sell property, change their will or create a Power of Attorney.
- Capacity - ability of an elderly person to understand the information needed to make a decision. Although first responders are not in a position to assess capacity they are asked to consider capacity when responding.
- Criminal charges which may apply to perpetrators of elder abuse include:
- Criminal breach of trust
- Criminal Negligence
- Forgery Section
- Extortion Section
- Fraudulent registration of title
- Fraudulent sale of property
Older adults who need help can call the Toronto Seniors Helpline 416-217-2077 or the Seniors Safety Line 1-866-299-1011 which is a confidential line with trained counsellors who can provide safety planning and counseling for older adults who are being abused or at-risk of abuse.
The Toronto Police Elder Abuse Services has also published Social Isolation of Seniors which covers the health risks to older adults from isolation and the increased risk of becoming a victim of Elder Abuse that isolations may pose.
WATCH VIDEO ON ELDER ABUSE PREVENTION BY TORONTO POLICE source: torontopolice.on.ca