For Emergencies call 911 or 1-866-876-5423 (York Regional Police)

If You See Or Suspect Abuse

 

If a person discloses abuse, believe them. Do not judge them or deny the abuse.

For more information, download our Response Guidelines

 

Some common reasons why a victim of elder abuse may not want to report it include:

Fear

Conflicted regarding the relationship with the perpetrator

May not identify the behaviour as abusive

Fear of losing the relationship

Fear of the abuse escalating

Not having other caregivers

Shame or embarrassment

Misinformation regarding their rights

Lack of awareness of resources

Self-blame/feeling they deserve the abuse

Sense of hopelessness

Unsure how to seek help

 

If you suspect abuse:

Ensure immediate safety.

Actively listen and reassure that it is not their fault and they are not alone.

Understand the situation. Get the facts.

Ask what they want to do and let them know help is available.

Document any abuse that you see – write down the date and what happened.

Find out what local services are available in your area.

Be sensitive to the person’s culture, religion, and comfort level with disclosing what is happening. Consider the person’s wishes; their willingness to make changes to the situation; and their ability to recognize that they may be a victim of abuse. If you suspect the person being abused has a cognitive impairment that is preventing them from recognizing the abuse, seek further guidance.

 

Some seniors may not want to talk about questionable abuse.

If the person discloses an abusive situation where they are not at imminent risk and they do not wish to seek help, the most important thing you can do is be there for them–listen and support them. Do not feel badly if your first offer of help is rejected. This can be a common initial reaction. Seniors often need time to think.

 

Try this as a response:

“Okay. I will respect your wishes. I just want you to know that you can talk to me anytime. Is it okay if I ask you about this the next time I see you?”

 

You can also:

Speak with a professional who will help you to review the situation logically and plan how you will respond in the future.

Create a safety plan with them.

Reduce their isolation until they can decide to seek help. Before a person will seek or agree to accept help, they need to be able to trust you and know that you will follow through with the help that you offer to give.