What is Elder Abuse?

Abuse of seniors is a major societal issue. Abuse means an action, or deliberate behaviour, by a person (s) in a position of trust, such as an adult child, family member, friend or care giver, that causes an adult:

  • Physical, emotional or mental harm; and/or
  • Damage to, or loss of, assets or property.

Many of these abuses are criminal offences under the Criminal Code of Canada, such as Theft, Forgery, Extortion, Assault, Intimidation, Threats, and Failure to Provide the Necessities of Life. Very few criminal offences against seniors are brought to the Criminal Justice System.

The main reason for abuse is the use of power and control by one person over another. In cases of financial abuse, the abuser has a false sense of entitlement to the senior’s money or possessions. The system can also be abusive. A relationship is abusive when a set of behaviour is used by a person(s) to establish dominance and control over another person.

There are several kinds of elder abuse. Please follow these links for more details:

For more information about elder abuse, you can download our Factsheet on Elder Abuse, which includes a definition of abuse, info on various types of elder abuse, and examples and scenarios of physical, emotional, psychological and financial abuse of seniors.