Mapping Elder Abuse Reporting and Resources in Niagara

Fonthill – On Thursday afternoon, local MPP Sam Oosterhoff and Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) volunteer Tracy Fattore, formally congratulated Crime Stoppers of Niagara on receiving a one-year $52,500 Seed grant last summer. The grant is being used to help create a safer community for the area’s growing senior population.

“This investment is so important in making sure vulnerable populations across the Region of Niagara are properly protected,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West. “Those who have built our country up, such as our elder citizens, should never have to worry about being abused or neglected. The teamwork and collaboration between Crime Stoppers, the NRP, the Region, and the Province of Ontario is exactly what is needed to make sure our elderly populations receive the supports they need.”

Funds from the grant are being used to map and determine if the Niagara Region is currently addressing the needs of Seniors, with regards to Elder Abuse, and Niagara’s need for a more streamlined coordinated response to address abuse. The recognition and response to Elder Abuse varies, due to individual interpretations of what it is, and not knowing how to get help, with people not knowing who to contact, or being redirected to other agencies or police services. The project will explore how point of entry and reporting is done and delivered, how the data is collected and the eventual outcomes. With support from the Niagara Elder Abuse Prevention Network, agency stakeholders and the public, Crime Stoppers will explore: Elder Abuse and the services that are available in the area, and the role of Crime Stoppers Niagara as a means of reporting abuse.

“Elder Abuse is multi-layered and multi-faceted. Ageism and abuse of older adults is both a social and structural issue, that is more apparent with our aging population,” said Ernie Sibbett, Past Chair of Crime Stoppers of Niagara and the Chair of Crime Stoppers of Niagara’s Elder Abuse Committee.

Thanks to this OTF grant, Crime Stoppers Niagara is exploring a potential role for directing Elder Abuse tips to the appropriate agency, or Police Services. Crime Stoppers is looking at the statistics of Elder Abuse in Niagara and looking at ways to standardize data collection that will reflect referral source, type of alleged abuse and intervention.

Elder abuse is underreported due to fear, isolation, dependency and shame. There are just under 78,000 Seniors living in the Niagara area. Ontario’s senior population in 2009 was 1.8 million; this is expected to rise to 4.2 million by 2036. Of the 2009 numbers, four to 10 percent of Seniors in Ontario reported some form of abuse. (Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, 2011)

With Crime Stoppers’ Tips, callers are guaranteed anonymity and those tips are shared with the police for investigation. Crime Stoppers of Niagara is comprised of diverse, active and dedicated community representation. Crime Stoppers provides several methods for local law enforcement to receive information on crimes. It is a citizen, media and police cooperative with a means to supply police with information anonymously.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded $108 million to 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario. www.otf.ca

For more information, please contact:

Becky Whitworth, Administrative Coordinator Niagara Elder Abuse Program
(905) 324-852