Elder Abuse & Neglect Lawyer In Toronto
It is every family’s worst nightmare to learn that their loved one has been the victim of elder abuse and/or neglect. In most cases, there is a personal relationship between the abuser and the victim. This can occur almost anywhere; at home, in hospital, at an office, in a long-term care facility, or even online.
In this context, the term “elder” refers to all older adults and is not restricted to individuals who are of a certain age. Any person may be the victim of elder abuse or neglect if the abuse relates to the victim’s age and a need for assistance and support.
Elder abuse can be intentional or unintentional and includes actions that cause physical, mental, financial or sexual harm to an older adult. It can also include neglect, such as when a person or organization fails to provide services or necessary care for an older adult. Elder abuse and neglect can be the result of one isolated incident or it may consist of a pattern of mistreatment.
In Ontario, the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 provides a Residents’ Bill of Rights and defines five types of abuse that may apply to a person living in a long-term care facility, as follows:
“Emotional abuse” means:
(a) Any threatening, insulting, intimidating or humiliating gestures, actions, behaviour or remarks, including imposed social isolation, shunning, ignoring, lack of acknowledgement or infantilization that are performed by anyone other than a resident, or
(b) Any threatening or intimidating gestures, actions, behaviour or remarks by a resident that causes alarm or fear to another resident where the resident performing the gestures, actions, behaviour or remarks understands and appreciates their consequences;
“Financial abuse” means:
Any misappropriation or misuse of a resident’s money or property;
“Physical abuse” means,
(a) The use of physical force by anyone other than a resident that causes physical injury or pain,
(b) Administering or withholding a drug for an inappropriate purpose, or
(c) The use of physical force by a resident that causes physical injury to another resident;
“Sexual abuse” means,
(a) Any consensual or non-consensual touching, behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature or sexual exploitation that is directed towards a resident by a licensee or staff member, or
(b) Any non-consensual touching, behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature or sexual exploitation directed towards a resident by a person other than a licensee or staff member;
“Verbal abuse” means:
(a) any form of verbal communication of a threatening or intimidating nature or any form of verbal communication of a belittling or degrading nature which diminishes a resident’s sense of well-being, dignity or self-worth, that is made by anyone other than a resident, or
(b) any form of verbal communication of a threatening or intimidating nature made by a resident that leads another resident to fear for his or her safety where the resident making the communication understands and appreciates its consequences.
It should be noted that physical abuse does not include the use of force that is appropriate to the provision of care or assisting a resident with activities of daily living, unless the force used is excessive in the circumstances. Similarly, sexual abuse does not include touching that is appropriate to the provision of care or assisting the resident with activities of daily living.
In extreme cases, elder abuse and neglect are considered criminal acts. If you are unsure, you should speak to a lawyer to determine whether police involvement is appropriate.
In some instances, the victim may not be able to speak out on their own due to a medical condition. Therefore, it is important that the appropriate documentation is collected if you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of elder abuse or neglect. This includes taking photographs of any physical injury, obtaining contact information of potential witnesses and preserving written documents, if any.
We can help
At Grillo Barristers, we have over 30 years of experience litigating claims for victims of elder abuse and neglect. We can help you better understand the law and assist you in recovering the compensation that you deserve. If you or a loved one has been a victim of abuse, call Grillo Barristers at 416 – 614 – 6000 for a FREE consultation.
Remember, you will not pay any fees until your case is won or settled.