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Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults

The abuse and neglect of older adults involves any form of mistreatment of an older person by a caregiver, family member, spouse, friend or other individuals in situations of power or trust. Forms of mistreatment may include physical assault or abuse,sexual assault, psychological or emotional abuse, financial abuse or neglect.

The abuse and neglect of older adults can be a one-time occurrence or a continuous pattern of behaviour that may start in small ways and escalate over a period of time to more overt or violent behaviour. If you or an older person you know is a victim of abuse or violence, help is available through victim services and other resources.

To learn more about Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults, see the Help Starts Here infosheet

Did You Know?

The Criminal Code protects the rights of seniors to live free of abuse. In BC, the Adult Guardianship Act provides for adults who are unable to get help because of a physical constraint, disability or other condition.

Designated agencies respond to reports of abuse or neglect involving adults in these circumstances and notify police if they think a criminal offence has been committed. Other laws that protect seniors are the Public Guardian and Trustee Act, the Representation Agreement Act, Community Care and Assisted Living Act , and the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act.

What to do next?

  • If you need immediate police or medical assistance, call 911 or the emergency number for your community.
  • If the situation is not urgent but you want to report a crime, call the non-emergency number for police in your community.
  • If you are hesitant or worried about calling the police, contact VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808 to find a victim service program nearest you for confidential and anonymous support and help.
  • If you think you may need medical care, see your doctor or go to a walk-in clinic.
  • Talk to another adult you trust. If a family member or friend can provide emotional support or help you in practical ways, ask for help.
  • If you feel safe and able to do so, talk to the person who is causing you harm. Let that person know how the behaviour is affecting you and ask him or her to change it.
  • Contact the Health and Seniors Information Line for information and referrals.
  • Contact the Public Guardian and Trustee about financial abuse.
  • Contact your Regional Health Authority about other forms of abuse or neglect of adults.
  • If you have questions about abuse and neglect, or your rights, don’t hesitate to ask a victim service worker.

What resources are available?

VictimLink BC

VictimLink BC is a toll-free 24/7 information and support line that provides information and referrals to all victims of crime, and crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence, including sexual assault, violence in relationships, elder abuse, and adult survivors of physical or sexual abuse. VictimLink BC provides service in 110 languages, including 17 North American Aboriginal languages.

  • Phone: toll free 1-800-563-0808. 24 hours every day
  • TTY (Teletypewriter): through Information Services Vancouver TTY service at (604) 875-0885 (collect calls accepted)
  • Multilingual

BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support

BC CEAS works to prevent elder abuse and provide assistance and support to older adults that are, or may be, abused and whose rights have been violated.

Crime Victim Assistance Program

Crime Victim Assistance Program provides financial benefits to assist victims, immediate family members, and witnesses in dealing with the affects of violent crime.

Health and Seniors’ Information Line

The Health and Seniors’ Information Line provides information on both health and non-health related federal and provincial government programs and services for British Columbia seniors


HealthLinkBCis a gateway to non-emergency health information and services. A phone service, website and print resource provides an expanded health navigation system, access to advice from healthcare professionals and enables community members to look up symptoms and services.

  • Phone: dial 8-1-1, nurses are available to answer questions 24 hours every day
  • TTY: dial 7-1-1
  • Translation services are available in over 130 languages on request
  • Website.

Public Guardian and Trustee

The Public Guardian and Trustee provides assistance to adults who need support for financial and personal decision making.

  • Phone: Vancouver Office at (604)660-4444; Victoria Office at (250)356-8160; Kelowna Office at (250)712-7576
  • Outside these calling areas, call Enquiry BC toll free in BC 1-800-663-7867 and ask to be transferred to the Public Guardian and Trustee
  • Email:

Regional Health Authorities

Regional Health Authorities provide health care and services across British Columbia. Website provides a directory and contact information for these different health authorities.

BC Association of Community Response Networks

The B.C. Association of CRNs grew out of the need to create an on-going, permanent provincial funding and support structure for the benefit of local Community Response Networks, and adults in their communities experiencing abuse, neglect and self-neglect.

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