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For The Love Of Our Parents

1185 words - 5 pages

Elderly abuse is defined as “any deliberate action or lack of action that causes harm to an older adult.” (Brownridge 55) It may take the form of: physical, financial, neglect, or psychological abuse. (Maclean 7-23) Statistics show that abuse towards the elderly is a substantial problem: A 1989 survey of 2000 elderly persons from private house holds found that 4% of the people reported being abused. (Health Canada) This is the equivalent of 98,000 elderly people in Canada. Financial abuse was the highest with 60,000 elders being affected, and psychosocial abuse is second affecting 30,000 elders. These shocking statistics are, believe it or not, understated due to lack of research. Elderly Canadians will always be a component of our society, and due to new medical breakthroughs they will be an increasing sector of the population. More specific laws, stricter enforcement of existing laws, and strategies for increased research and awareness need to be implemented in order to combat the increasing problem of elderly abuse in Canadian society.

One major problem with the few existing laws is that they are not specific to the elderly. If an elderly person is abused the abuser may be charged with several sections of the criminal code. For example, physical abuse may be a form of assault or sexual assault, and financial abuse may be an offence such as theft or fraud. This is a smoke-screen for the lack of stricter laws; the government may argue that there are laws to protect the elderly. The different types of elderly abuse are not specified; therefore many types of abuse may not be covered. This leads to a problem when trying to convict perpetrators of elderly abuse; the person behind the act may not receive a suitable conviction, allowing them to get away with the crime they have committed. Also, when elderly abuse is not specified in the criminal code it is not seen as a serious enough offence, leading people to believe that they will get away with perpetrating this appalling act. An Emergency Protection Order (Oak Net) may be obtained to provide immediate protection of an abuse family member. This also is not specific to the elderly, and the order may be refused if a family member has guardianship over the elderly. The family member may argue that the elderly person is unable to make a coherent judgment, and the order may be denied. If the Order specifically recognized the types of elderly abuse psychological abuse would be taken into account, legally, and the Order would be more effective in combating elderly abuse. The different laws vary from province to province. (Sebold 119) The definition of elderly abuse is not specifically stated at the federal level and there are no mandatory standard or regulations to deal with elderly abuse. If there is no federal standard, then there is no way to ensure that the few laws that exist are effective, and if those laws are not specific to the elderly then that leads us back to the drawing board to find a...

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