Nursing Homes Urged to Prioritize Abuse Prevention

Posted on: May 16th, 2012 by Chloe Hamilton

CBC Health News Article  Posted: May 16, 2012 1:12 PM ET

A task force is calling for Ontario’s long-term-care homes to make the prevention of abuse and neglect their top priority in the year ahead.

The provincial Long-Term Care Task Force on Resident Care and Safety says that the people managing and working in these homes must ensure their organizations are committed to preventing abuse, both on paper and in practice.

In a new report issued Wednesday, the task force makes a series of recommendations for the province’s long-term-care homes.

They include setting up committees at long-term-care facilities to track and respond to issues relating to resident care and safety, as well as identifying indicators of abuse, neglect and quality of life.

The same report is urging the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to help design and deploy coaching teams to improve safety and quality of care in poor-performing homes in the province.

The ministry should also work with the long-term-care industry to resolve outstanding issues related to the services available to and placement of individuals with complex care needs, the report says.

Not every facility a problem

There were more than 3,000 cases of abuse reported in the province’s nursing homes last year, though Gail Donner, the task force’s chair, said that doesn’t mean that there are problems in every facility.

“There’s not abuse and neglect everywhere in every home, in every environment,” Donner said Wednesday.

“And there are probably some environments where it’s more than in other environments, and that’s why this report is so important.”

Much of the abuse reported is committed by residents, so the industry wants specialized homes created to handle elderly residents with behavioural problems.

In cases where staff are abusive, the industry wants to make it easier to fire those individuals.

The industry-led task force that put together the report also includes representation from seniors and academics.

It collected survey responses from more than 1,900 people who live, work or otherwise have interaction with long-term-care facilities in Ontario.

The full report can be viewed online on the task force’s website.

With a report from the CBC’s Mike Crawley

CBC News  Posted: May 16, 2012 1:12 PM ET  source:





NEW Toolkit for Understanding Senior Abuse

Posted on: April 16th, 2012 by Chloe Hamilton

The Nova Scotia Department of Seniors, has just released a NEW Tool Kit “Understanding Senior Abuse: A Toolkit for Community Champions”

 This toolkit has been developed by the Department of Seniors to help Nova Scotians understand and prevent senior abuse. We call it a toolkit because it’s packed with tools you can use to make your community a safer, more respectful place for older adults.

 Individuals are welcome to print copies off the website.

 The Dept. of Seniors welcomes your feedback on the Toolkit! 

Please send your comments to




Government Introduces Legislation to Better Protect Canada’s Seniors

Posted on: March 24th, 2012 by Chloe Hamilton

TORONTO, March 15, 2012 – The Government of Canada announced today the introduction of legislation which will help ensure that sentencing for crimes against elderly Canadians reflects the significant impact that crime has on their lives. The announcement was made by the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; along with the Honourable Alice Wong, M.P. for Richmond and Minister of State (Seniors); and Robert Goguen, M.P. for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice.

“Our Government has a responsibility to protect elderly Canadians and to ensure that crimes against them are punished appropriately,” said Minister Nicholson. “This legislation will help ensure tough sentences for those who take advantage of vulnerable members of our society.”

“This legislation would further support our Government’s common front to combat elder abuse in all forms,” said Minister of State Wong. “Elder abuse will not be tolerated. Our Government is committed to ensuring that Canadians are made aware of this serious issue and that they have the necessary information and support to take action and help prevent abuse.”

Under the proposed amendment to the Criminal Code, evidence that an offence had a significant impact on the victims due to their age – and other personal circumstances such as health or financial situation – would be considered an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.

The amendment would ensure a consistent application of sentencing practices that treat the abuse against individuals who are vulnerable due to their age and other personal circumstances seriously. The Criminal Code already contains similar measures that denounce the abuse of vulnerable persons. For instance, it states that the abuse of a person under the age of eighteen is an aggravating factor at sentencing.

“The interests of law-abiding citizens should always be placed ahead of those of criminals,” said Parliamentary Secretary Goguen. “Our Government will continue to honour our 2011 platform pledge to protect our seniors.”

The Government addresses elder abuse in a number of ways, including its elder abuse awareness campaigns and the New Horizons for Seniors Program, which includes projects to increase awareness. In 2011, the Government increased its investment in the New Horizons for Seniors Program by $5 million per year, bringing the program’s annual budget to $45 million.

More information about elder abuse can be found at





New Elder Abuse Legislation is a Step in the Right Direction–ONPEA’s Endorsement

Posted on: March 24th, 2012 by Chloe Hamilton

The Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse applauds the federal government for making good on an election promise to make elder abuse prevention a priority but knows this is just one piece of the puzzle.

On April 15th 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had announced that a re-elected Conservative government would crack down on those who commit crimes against seniors.  He said a Conservative government would ensure that the Criminal Code of Canada includes a provision to add age to the list of aggravating factors courts must consider when issuing a sentence.


That is exactly what happened yesterday. On March 15, 2012 the Government of Canada announced the introduction of legislation which will help ensure that sentencing for crimes against elderly Canadians reflects the significant impact that crime has on their lives. Under the proposed amendment to the Criminal Code, evidence that an offence had a significant impact on the victims due to their age – would be considered an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.[1]


Teri Kay, Executive Director of ONPEA knows this is a much needed step for elder abuse awareness but urges government of all levels to keep prevention initiatives on the forefront and the momentum moving. “The new legislation will help with cases before the courts but won’t impact reports of elder abuse. Most seniors are reluctant to report elder abuse for fear the abuser (usually a child or relative) will go to jail. This legislation won’t increase reporting but it will help to raise awareness about the issue. Resources and services like our Seniors Safety Line and community programs are important steps in helping seniors understand their options.  Need to understand that elder abuse is not just fraud and violence; it includes emotional, psychological, sexual abuse and neglect. The way to increase reporting is talk about the issue and try to remove the shame.”


ONPEA is certain that more public education, professional training for police and front-line workers, advocacy and support for care-giving families are essential to decrease these staggering rates of abuse as this segment of the population grows. By investing in programs and education to recognize signs of elder abuse we can prevent many cases before they reach a criminal act and decrease associated costs in the future. Compared to other abuse programs throughout the province and country, elder abuse is far less funded and needs to be addressed now.


The Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA) is dedicated to raising awareness of elder abuse and neglect, through public education, professional training, advocacy, and service coordination. In addition to implementing Ontario’s Strategy to Combat Elder Abuse, ONPEA supports a growing number of vital projects and research in elder abuse and neglect prevention.

ONPEA was founded in 1989 and was incorporated as a charitable organization in 1992. ONPEA is governed by a voluntary Board of 12 members representing professionals, service providers, community organizations, volunteers, seniors and aboriginal groups. It has mounted numerous initiatives of regional, national and international nature. Charitable # 88900 0790 RR0001
For more information regarding the Senior Safety Line (1-866-299-1011) and the critical work of The Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA) please visit Please also visit for more information on ONPEA’s on-going fundraising efforts.


Karen Coons | 416.500.2373 |
Mary Mead | 416.916.6728



SAGE Nomination

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by Tracey Ostermann

Waterloo Region Committee on Elder Abuse received a nomination for a SAGE Award (Service Award for Geriatric Excellence). SAGE celebrates that outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations committed to providing the highest quality of care to seniors. Winners will be announced on May 25/12

Good luck WRCEA