Elder Abuse is Wrong: Help Is Available

You are not alone—Talk to someone

If you—or someone you know—are being abused, talk to someone you trust. And keep talking until somebody listens. Help is available. There are people who can help you figure out what to do. Abuse usually only gets worse when it stays hidden.

When you ask officials like the police, a social worker or a lawyer for information, you can ask them to keep your concerns confidential.

Where can you get more information?

There are lots of people with training to help you. You can contact your local:

  • Police
  • Crown Attorney's office
  • Hospital
  • Seniors' centre or Royal Canadian Legion
  • Multicultural association
  • Community centre
  • Women's centre
  • Telephone crisis line
  • Telephone help line or seniors line
  • Public legal education and information association
  • Shelter
  • Legal referral service
  • Lawyer
  • Legal aid office
  • Doctor or public health nurse
  • Social worker
  • Religious counsellor.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or your local police.

Feeling torn

One of the hardest parts of being abused is the feeling of conflict you may have inside yourself. You may feel torn between the desire to protect yourself and your love for the person who is now mistreating you.

Remember, you can love a person and not like the way they are behaving. The situation is not your fault.

A person may have changed their behaviour due to stress or an illness. Or their conduct may be part of an ongoing pattern. Nobody—not your spouse, your son, your granddaughter, or your caregiver—has the right to treat you badly.

You may feel afraid of what will happen if your family or living situation changes. Dealing with health issues, physical pain or financial stresses can make you feel vulnerable and less able to cope with the world on your own.

Talking to someone you trust—or who is trained to help—can make a difference. By getting help, you may be able to restore the relationship and stop the abuse. Other times, an abuser can't change. In that case, you may need to leave the situation or report the abuse.

If you are a newcomer to Canada

Some newcomers worry that they will be forced to leave Canada if they report an abusive situation. If you feel this way, remember that you have choices. You do not have to accept being in an abusive situation. Help is available.

If you are a citizen or a permanent resident (landed immigrant), you cannot be removed from Canada for leaving an abusive situation, even if the person abusing you is your sponsor.

If you are a temporary resident in Canada—for example, here as a visitor, worker or refugee claimant or as the spouse of someone with temporary status—you should contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada at 1-888-242-2100/ 1-800-576-8502 TTY. Your status in Canada may be tied to the status of your spouse or sponsor, but remember that you still have a right to privacy when dealing with officials.

If you have temporary status in Canada or are without legal status, you may be able to apply to become a permanent resident. This does not always mean you will be able to stay, but you should contact a lawyer who is specialized in immigration matters or go to an immigrant–serving organization for advice and information about your choices.

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