Abuse of elders and other vulnerable adults is an issue of fundamental concern for our society.
Abuse can take many forms, and affects many people on a daily basis. It can manifest as violenceor as simple neglect. It is important to be able to identify abuse and to help those experiencing it.
The different types of abuse
Actions, remarks, or attitudes that negatively affect an individual’s psychological well-being or integrity.
Violence: emotional blackmail, manipulation, humiliation, insults, infantilization, degrading remarks, verbal and non-verbal threats, etc.
Neglect: rejection, indifference, social isolation
Inappropriate actions or gestures, or absence of appropriate action, which harm physical well-being or integrity.
Violence: pushing, hitting, brutalizing, force-feeding, burning, inappropriate use of restraints, etc.
Neglect: failure to provide a reasonable level of comfort or safety, failure to provide assistance with eating, grooming, hygiene, or taking medication
Sexual actions, gestures, words or attitudes that are non-consensual and that undermine an individual’s well-being, integrity, or sexual identity.
Violence: suggestive remarks or attitudes, jokes or insults with sexual connotations, promiscuity, exhibitionist behaviour, sexual assault, etc.
Neglect: failure to provide privacy, failure to respect a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity
DID YOU KNOW?
Abuse is a single or repetitive act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person. (from the Governmental Action Plan to Counter Elder Abuse 2010–2015, p.17)
Any prejudicial situation created or tolerated by organizational procedures (private, public, or community institutions providing care or services of any kind), and that compromises people’s rights and freedoms.
Violence: services provided in an abrupt manner
Neglect: services ill-adapted to needs, reduced organizational capacity, inadequate staff training, etc.
Negative or hostile attitudes towards someone due to their age, giving rise to prejudicial acts or social exclusion.
Violence: imposition of age-based restrictions or social norms, reduced access to certain resources, prejudice, infantilization, contempt
Neglect: indifference to ageist practices or comments witnessed, etc.
Violation of rights
Any infringement of individual and social rights and freedoms.
Violence: forced medical treatment, denial of the right to choose, receive telephone calls or visits, practise one’s religion, or express one’s sexual orientation
Neglect: lack of information or misinformation about rights, failure to recognize the person’s abilities
Material or financial
Fraudulent, illegal, unauthorized, or dishonest acquisition of a person’s property or legal documents, lack of financial or legal information or misinformation.
Violence: pressure to change a will, banking transaction without consent, excessive price charged for services rendered, etc.
Neglect: failure to manage assets in the person’s interest or to provide necessary goods and/or services as required, etc.
Complaint or report ?
If you are a victim of or witness to abuse in the health and social services network, you must act to put an end to the situation as quickly as possible. Pour ce faire, vous pouvez communiquer avec le Commissaire aux plaintes et à la qualité des services de l’établissement concerné, et recevoir l’aide du CAAP pour vous accompagner dans votre démarche.
Who can file a complaint:
- Any older person, vulnerable adult, or victim of abuse
- Any legal representative of the abused person
Who can report abuse:
- Anyone who witnesses a problem situation involving abuse
The Act to combat maltreatment of seniors and other persons of full age in vulnerable situationsstipulates that the time limits for processing complaints or reports of abuse must be adjusted according to the seriousness of the situation. Although there is not set time limit, such cases should receive priority treatment.
Obligation to report abuse
Since Bill 115 (the Act to combat maltreatment of seniors and other persons of full age in vulnerable situations) was adopted on May 30, 2017, “Any health services and social services provider or any professional within the meaning of the Professional Code(chapter C-26) who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person of full age is a victim of a single or repeated act, must report it immediately if (…) the person is lodged in a facility maintained by an institution operating a residential and long-term care centre within the meaning of the Act respecting health services and social services, as well as any person under tutorship or curatorship, or is a person for whom a protection mandate has been approved” (s. 21).
The CAAP of your region is there to
- Listen, answer your questions, and provide you with the necessary support
- Help you document your experience in writing and define the harm suffered
- Assist and accompany youthroughout the complaint or reporting process, including during meetings with the Complaints and Service Quality Commissioner
- Refer you to appropriate resources according to your needs.
To reach a CAAP advisor: 1 877 767-2227