When Does Crime Pay? Status of Justice Policy on Abuse of Older Adults Presented by Penny Bain LLM Executive Director BC Coalition to Eliminate Abuse of.
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Presentation on theme: "When Does Crime Pay? Status of Justice Policy on Abuse of Older Adults Presented by Penny Bain LLM Executive Director BC Coalition to Eliminate Abuse of."— Presentation transcript:
When Does Crime Pay? Status of Justice Policy on Abuse of Older Adults Presented by Penny Bain LLM Executive Director BC Coalition to Eliminate Abuse of Seniors
Abuse of Older Adults Covers a wide range of situations, for example - A continuation of spousal abuse Exploitation by people who befriend or offer support Mistreatment by someone the senior should be able to rely upon – a spouse, an adult child, another family member, a friend or paid caregiver Harm done to an older person by people who are in a position of trust or authority
Continuum of Abuse Several different types and levels of harm Actions may range from indignities to gross neglect and malicious assaults that lead to death Acts of abuse & neglect tend to escalate
Risk of Criminal Victimization Research studies indicate that Risk of criminal victimization for people with a disability is much higher than for people without disabilities People who have a disability are often victimized repeatedly by the same perpetrators
Profiles of Victims and Abusers VICTIMS may… Be socially isolated Be under the control or influence of the abuser Have some degree of physical impairment or incapability Be physically frail, but mentally capable Be widowed or living alone Not appear to be vulnerable in any way
Profiles of Victims and Abusers ABUSERS may… Resent expectations to provide care or support Be dependent on the senior for assistance, housing or money Have substance abuse problems Have a history of mental illness or emotional problems Just seem normal
Ongoing Effect of Abuse & Neglect On Older Adults More likely to sustain serious physical and emotional injury Fewer financial, physical and emotional resources to bounce back from abuse and neglect Abuser often restricts social activities and contact with other people Isolation may make older people even more vulnerable Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
Abuse & Neglect of Older Adults Abuse and neglect of adults is a complex problem that requires a coordinated community and justice system response
Mental Cruelty Neglect (non-criminal) Humiliate Frighten Isolate Ignore Assault Sexual Assault Criminal Negligence Harassment or Stalking Intimidation Threats Murder Manslaughter Forcible Confinement Theft Fraud Forgery Extortion Failure to provide necessaries Infantalize or treat as a child Criminal and Non-Criminal Abuse & Neglect Wheel Insult Ridicule Abuse tends to escalate and crimes often overlap and blend together Outer Circle= Non-Criminal Inner Circle = Criminal Adapted, with permission, from Elder Abuse: the Hidden Crime” - Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, Toronto
Criminal Justice System Responses Possible protection and support options available in the criminal justice system Arrest to ensure safety Detention or release orders, e.g., registered protective conditions Peace Bonds Crime Victim Assistance Program – financial benefits to help victims and others recover from the effects of violent crime
Criminal Justice System Options Sentencing Options Probation orders (which may include treatment conditions to address psychiatric or alcohol and drug problems) Compensation or restitution for loss Future detention
BC Criminal Justice System Policies In crimes against seniors, police and Crown counsel may be guided by these policies Violence Against Women in Relationships (VAWIR) – when assault occurs in a spousal relationship Vulnerable persons – best to proceed where victim is a “ vulnerable ” person (considered an aggravating circumstance if abuser is in position of trust)
Case Scenarios Is the abuse of the older adult a crime? Should the criminal justice system hold the abuser accountable? Should the criminal justice system protect the older victim of crime?
Criminal Justice System Policies Is the violence against women in relationships policy (BC Ministry of Attorney General, RCMP) relevant and/or effective? Is the investigation and prosecution of violent abusers of vulnerable adults always in the public interest?
Criminal Justice System Policies Are criminal justice system protective orders effective in protecting victims in cases of abuse by intimate partners, adult children or caregivers in dependency relationships? Should interventions where victims of crime are vulnerable adults focus more on social and health supports rather than criminal justice responses?
Criminal Justice System Resources How should limited police and Crown resources be allocated to the investigation and prosecution of theft by power of attorney? Should limited resources be allocated to the investigation and prosecution of theft by power of attorney where the accused is likely to subsequently inherit the stolen funds?
Criminal Justice System Policies How should we reconcile and integrate social and criminal justice system policies and practices in order to –Hold perpetrators of abuse against older adults accountable? –Protect vulnerable victims from repeated offences? –Ensure adequate resources are in place to support the continued health and safety of the victim?
Importance of Criminal Justice System Response Abuse and neglect is a crime against society Send a clear message Abusers often involved in other crimes Prevent situation escalating Perpetrators prey on vulnerable victims Research indicates that a coordinated criminal justice response can be effective in protecting vulnerable adults
B.C. CEAS (B.C. Coalition to Eliminate Abuse of Seniors) Provides education and information about abuse and neglect of seniors Provincial legal information & advocacy line Telephone number for Vancouver area 604 437-1940 Toll Free 1 866 437-1940 E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org@telus.net Website: www.bcceas.ca