by Vic Toews
As Canada’s population ages, our Government firmly believes that we must take care of those who have given so much to build our country to what it is today. That includes ensuring that we have effective laws in place to protect our elderly from abuse and other forms of crime.
Simply stated, elder abuse is any action, often committed by someone in a relationship of trust, that results in harm or distress. Common types of this terrible crime include physical, psychological and financial abuse, and neglect. Often more than one type of abuse occurs at the same time. Police reported that nearly 7,900 seniors were victims of violent crime in 2009. Of those reported crimes, 35 percent were committed by a family member, 35 percent were committed by a friend or acquaintance, and 29 percent were committed by a stranger. However, it is difficult to estimate the true prevalence and incidence of elder abuse in Canada due to factors such as under-reporting.
Earlier this month, Bill C-36, the Protecting Canada’s Seniors Act, was passed in the House of Commons. The legislation aims to better protect seniors by helping ensure tough sentences for those who take advantage of elderly Canadians.
Crimes against our most vulnerable citizens should not be tolerated, and this Bill ensures that perpetrators will be punished appropriately. Under the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code, evidence that an offence had a significant impact on the victims due to their age – and other personal circumstances such as their health or financial situation – would be considered an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.
The amendments would ensure a consistent application of sentencing practices that treat the abuse against individuals who are vulnerable due to their age and other personal circumstances.
Our Government takes our commitment to protect our most vulnerable and prevent crime very seriously. We have been working to address elder abuse in a number of ways, including through elder abuse awareness campaigns and the New Horizons for Seniors Program. In 2011, we increased our investment in the New Horizons for Seniors Program by $5 million per year, bringing the program’s annual budget to $45 million.
Please visit www.seniors.gc.ca for more information about our Government’s on-going action to protect vulnerable Canadians and prevent crime.
SOURCE: MySteinbach, ca
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