Few elder abuse cases lead to criminal charges, federal study indicates - InfoNews

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Few elder abuse cases lead to criminal charges, federal study indicates

December 16, 2013 - 12:11 PM

OTTAWA - A federal study suggests only a small proportion of elder-abuse cases investigated by police result in criminal charges because victims want to maintain family relationships and fear winding up in seniors' homes.

Justice Department researchers who looked at 453 cases of abused elderly people handled by Ottawa police over a five-year period found charges were laid in 17 per cent of files.

That's considerably lower than the one-quarter of police probes that typically lead to charges.

In more than half of the elder-abuse cases in which no one was charged, there was either insufficient evidence or the victim refused to co-operate with police.

The study says possible explanations include a desire to maintain family ties, fear and anxiety about institutionalization and loss of independence, as well as factors such as financial dependency, disability or illness.

One police officer told the researchers the elderly are reluctant to pursue charges against their children and as a result police spend a large amount of time walking elders through the benefits of doing so, including the help available for those who are abusive.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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