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Elder Abuse

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, an official United Nations International Day acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.

We all deserve to lead happy and healthy lives free from abuse as we age, yet older people are often mistreated. Take action to raise awareness and grow the conversation about this important social justice issue.

#WEAADJune15 #ABGrowTheConversation

One in three senior victims of police-reported violence victimized by a family member

In 2019, there were 14,156 senior victims of police-reported violence in Canada, and over half (55%) were men. One-third (32%) of senior victims were victimized by a family member, which represented 4,518 victims. Family violence against seniors that came to the attention of police was most often perpetrated by their child (34%) followed by a spouse (26%) and a sibling (12%), and this pattern was the same for female and male seniors. Similar to family violence in general, women were overrepresented as victims of family violence against seniors (58%).

Family violence against seniors increases for the fourth consecutive year

The rate of police-reported family violence against seniors was 8% higher in 2019 compared with the previous year, while the rate of non-family violence against seniors increased 13%. For family violence against seniors, this marked the fourth consecutive annual increase, up 20% from 2015. During this time, the rate of family violence against seniors increased 18% for women and 23% for men. Between 2009 and 2019, the rate increased 19% overall while the rate of non-family violence against seniors increased 31%.

Physical assault most common form of family violence against seniors

In 2019, the rate of police-reported family violence against seniors was 72 victims per 100,000 population. The most common type of family violence perpetrated against seniors was physical assault3 (accounting for 72% of victims, a rate of 52 per 100,000 population) followed by other offences involving violence or the threat of violence. This pattern was similar for women and men. Two-thirds (67%) of senior victims of family violence were assaulted using physical force.  A further 16% of victims were assaulted with a weapon present, such as a knife, club or firearm. Four in ten (41%) senior victims of family violence suffered a physical injury, somewhat higher than those who experienced non-family violence (36%). Of the seniors who were physically injured as a result of family violence, the vast majority (93%) had minor injuries. Physical injury resulting from family violence against seniors was similar for women and men (40% and 42%, respectively).

Source: Stat Can-Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2019

Indigenous Elders

All senior Albertans carry wisdom. Indigenous Elders play a vital role as knowledge keepers, passing down cultural teachings to the next generations. To mark Seniors’ Week in Alberta, visit the Voices of Amiskwaciy website, hosted by the Edmonton Public Library, which includes stories gathered through the Edmonton Aboriginal Seniors Centre.

“Martha Everatt: Life on the Trap Line” features 92 year old Metis woman, Martha Everatt speaking about her childhood memories.