Elder abuse is priority for Toronto police

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 9:14 a.m. July 18, 2019
Updated: 2:24 p.m. July 18, 2019

With a high number of elder abuse cases going unreported, Toronto Police has stepped up its campaign to ensure that the extremely vulnerable are protected.

A man in police uniform talks to two women
Insp. Paul McIntyre engages seniors

On June 11, the Service’s Senior Consultative Committee provided 5,000 booklets, “Social Isolation of Seniors” to frontline social workers.

“This booklet is an educational tool that addresses the social phenomenon that is social isolation and the perils of it,” said Const. Jason Peddle, the Service’s Vulnerable Persons Co-coordinator, at an event organized by Elder Abuse Ontario on June 15 at Waterfront Community Centre. “It goes beyond education in that it provides tips and strategies for the common everyday citizen to maybe intervene on a personal level.

“We want everyday citizens to be armed with some information that can be a real valuable tool in combatting social isolation when it comes to elder abuse in the community. If someone sees something that concerns them, we are encouraging them to knock on a door and talk to that individual. A seemingly small gesture like that can change lives.”

June is Seniors Month and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is celebrated on June 15.

Insp. Paul McIntyre along with S/Supt. Kim Yeandle and Peddle sit on the Chief Mark Saunders’ Senior Consultative Committee that was established a few years ago.

“We are working with some top notch people in the field, including doctors and lawyers to talk about best practices and how we can combat elder abuse in the province,” said McIntyre. “We are on the right track.”

Four women are flanked by two men in police uniforms
Const. Jason Peddle, Christine Chan, Rieann Rideout, Marlene Cater, Marta Hajek, Insp. Paul McIntyre

Marta Hajek, the Elder Abuse Ontario executive director, said her organization relishes its collaboration with Toronto Police.

“There is no mandatory reporting in the community, so it is important that we work with Toronto Police and other agencies around the province to ensure that all officers that are on the frontline are well informed about elder abuse issues and they can recognize some of the warning signs,” she said.

Elder Abuse Ontario transitioned to Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario on June 15.

“We are about prevention advocacy and building public awareness and that happens through education,” said Hajek.

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