Hidden and Invisible: Seniors Abuse and Neglect in British Columbia

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Author
Office of the Seniors Advocate British Columbia
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Description / Summary

In this report, Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie details the results of a systemic review of seniors’ abuse and neglect in British Columbia. The review examined the protections that exist for B.C. seniors, the prevalence of seniors’ abuse and neglect, the method of reporting abuse and neglect, and the response to reports of seniors’ abuse and neglect.

Report Summary

The report examines current legislative protections, assesses reporting practices, reviews five years of existing data, consults with 144 stakeholders in 25 communities throughout B.C., and surveys over 1500 British Columbians.

The review highlights that reports of abuse and neglect of people 65 and over have increased significantly in the past five years with:

  • 49% increase in report of abuse, neglect and self-neglect to health authorities (Designated Agencies)
  • 69% increase in reports of victims of violent crime to the RCMP
  • 87% increase in reports of physical abuse to the Vancouver Police
  • 49% increase of financial abuse to the Vancouver Police
  • 30% increase in reports of abuse to bc211

Key concerns heard by the Office of the Seniors Advocate (OSA) were the lack of public awareness, a fragmented reporting and response system, gaps in service, and the need for training for those working with seniors in the community. Emerging trends and issues in B.C. were listed as sources of concern, including self-neglect, physical, social, and cultural isolation, family caregivers, on-line security, and COVID-19.

The report includes five recommendations:

  1. Establish provincial standards of practice, policies, and front-line training to respond to seniors’ abuse and neglect
  2. Create province-wide public awareness initiatives and training on seniors’ abuse and neglect
  3. Develop a central, single point of contact to report calls of concern of seniors’ abuse and neglect
  4. Ensure consistent data collection, methods, and definitions to record, track and monitor abuse and neglect cases
  5. Undertake a full comprehensive review of the Adult Guardianship Act

Read the report.

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