CANADA- 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, a federal study suggests.
Canadian Justice Department researchers who looked at 453 cases of allegedly 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.
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, the study says.
“The vulnerabilities that put older Canadians at risk of victimization can also create barriers to criminal investigations and the criminal justice system as a response.” Read more »