World Elder Abuse Awareness Day


Did you know that 1 in 12 seniors in British Columbia experience abuse? This can include physical, emotional, sexual, financial abuse and neglect. Mistreatment is often by a spouse, family member or trusted individual in the person’s life. June 15 marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and signifies older adult abuse and neglect as a global public health and human rights issue.

Signs of Older Adult Abuse

Look, Listen and Ask. Here are some signs that abuse has occurred or is likely to happen:

Physical Abuse Unexplained injuries | Signs of restraint | Intimidation through weapon play

Behavioural Abuse Conduct of people involved and relationship between person and suspected abuser, e.g., senior is fearful, withdrawn, depressed, isolated Suspected abuser is reluctant to leave person alone with professionals

Financial Abuse Withholding basic living resources, medication or food Fraud, scams, identity theft Taking money from a joint account without permission Persuading a person to take money from their account for another person’s benefit Misuse of power of attorney or forcing a person to change legal documents e.g., will, house title, power of attorney, ownership of assets

Abuse of Older Women

Older women survivors of abuse can be an overlooked demographic. Some women come from a generation where family violence and abuse was not discussed—and may be unaware of the devastating long-term effect abuse can have on health, self-esteem and independence. Family violence and abuse often includes isolating the individual, leaving them dependent on the perpetrator. Social isolation comes with a huge emotional, financial and psychological cost. When survivors can come together in a safe and supportive environment, they can realize they are not alone and that their lives can and will improve.

Older survivors may have unique challenges that result from long-term exposure to traumatic intimate partner violence and abuse—facing concerns and barriers different to survivors who are younger. Victoria Women’s Transition House is the only local organization providing trauma-informed services specifically tailored to older and abuse. Our services include third-stage transitional housing, counselling supports and expressive arts, health and wellness and financial literacy outreach programs. Click here to learn more about our Older Women’s Program.

Here to Help

Transition House continues to raise awareness about older adult abuse and neglect. Read and download our handout on Older Adult Abuse & Neglect.

Community education presentation workshops are available and can be delivered virtually and in-person (depending on COVID-19 safety guidelines). For more information, email us at Watch a recording of our Older Adult Abuse and Neglect presentation below.

Support is always available. VWTH’s 24-hour Crisis & Information Line (250.385.6611) provides judgment-free support for women who are experiencing or have survived intimate partner violence and abuse. Concerned family members, friends, colleagues as well as professionals can call for support, information, resources and referrals.

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