Elder Abuse, COVID-19, Ontario, Canada, Criminal Code, Long-term care
Elder abuse and neglect continues to be a gray area when it comes to convicting perpetrators such as family, friends, strangers, and caregivers who commit any form of physical, psychological, financial, neglect, or sexual abuse towards an elder. This is due to the legal definition being vague and non-transparent. The legal and health systems rely on two different definitions of what is deemed to be elder abuse and neglect in Canada when reviewing or assessing allegations of such abuse. Elder abuse and neglect increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Ontario and the rest of Canada experienced staffing shortages in long-term care homes and for those cared for at home. Elder abuse in Indigenous communities poses special problems, in particular that of spiritual abuse that occurs when an Indigenous elder is forced to practice and develop religious beliefs other than their own. The law in Canada, including the Criminal Code, has proven to be an ineffective mechanism to combat elder abuse.
Dr. Stephen Brooks
Dr. John Sutcliffe
Department of Political Science
Master of Arts
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