New Westminster – Elder Abuse is a growing concern around the world. So much so that in 2006, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 15th of every year as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). The New Westminster Police Department is encouraging residents to acknowledge WEAAD by starting a conversation with friends and family about the signs of elder abuse.
“Elder abuse is a global problem and it’s no different in New Westminster. As with other examples of family violence, it’s difficult to know exactly how common it is, because the sad reality is most goes unreported.” stated Chief Dave Jansen. “Check on your older family members, friends or neighbours and ask them if they’re okay. If you suspect an older person is not being treated well or want to report abuse, please call us.”
Social isolation has been identified as one of the leading contributing factors to an increase in risk. Approximately 10% of all senior adults will experience some form of abuse. Elder abuse includes physical, emotional, or sexual harm inflicted upon an older adult, their financial exploitation, or neglect of their welfare by people who are directly responsible for their care. It is also believed that abuse of seniors is significantly under reported. Tragically, many will suffer in silence, in fear or in shame.
There are many clues that an adult may be experiencing abuse. Some red flags include seeing an older adult being yelled at in public or unexplained withdrawals from an older adult’s bank account. Other common signs include property damage, and theft. To learn about additional signs of elder abuse consider reading the Fraser Health resources listed below.
The New Westminster Police Department works in conjunction with community counsellors and senior’s resources to help connect those experiencing elder abuse with assistance. The New Westminster Police Department is part of the newly formed New Westminster Community Response Network (CRN) which works with community members to build awareness of elder abuse and the need for prevention activities. Our detectives are trained in elder abuse cases and our Vulnerable Persons Liaison Officer works to start conversations with workers, friends, family members and neighbours on how to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect and where to go for support.
If you are a victim of elder abuse and are in immediate danger please call 9-1-1. If you are concerned for the safety of an older adult in your community you can reach out to your local Fraser Health Home Health or Mental Health office, or call the NWPD non-emergency line at 604-525-5411.
Excellent resources from Fraser Health include:
Signs and symptoms of adult abuse and neglect: https://www.fraserhealth.ca/health-topics-a-to-z/adult-abuse-and-neglect/signs-and-symptoms-of-adult-abuse-and-neglect#.XuE0fU1YaUk
Getting help for adult abuse and neglect:
Adult abuse and neglect agencies and police contacts: