TORONTO, Ontario March 15, 2012 - CARP welcomes the introduction of a Bill changing the Criminal Code to increase sentencing for elder abuse convictions and calls on the provinces to follow the federal lead to increase resources for detection, investigation, prosecution and victim services.
CARP members will welcome the proposal to increase sentencing for elder abuse especially in light of yet another high profile case of victimization. The case also highlights the need for more resources to detect, investigate and prosecute elder abuse cases – actions that are within provincial jurisdiction.
"Older Canadians will take heart from this opening salvo on ending elder abuse. Public awareness initiatives are always welcome but nothing beats a Minister of Justice standing up in Parliament to back up our collective opprobrium with legislative action. More is needed, of course, to detect, investigate, prosecute and ultimately end elder abuse", said Susan Eng, VP Advocacy, CARP.
This legislation can’t have come soon enough. Just this month, there was another media report of elder abuse at the hands of a care giver which illustrates the extent to which people will go to victimize an older person, even one who has all her wits about her and access to lawyers.
In March 2011, CARP called on the then Minister for Seniors, Julian Fantino to do more to address the scourge of elder abuse following media reports of a grandmother forced to live in the family’s garage through a Toronto winter..
This was followed by CARP’s open letter to the Justice Minister and then Seniors Minister: stressing the importance of legislative action:
"… the law has an important role to play in embodying societal values and in the wake of this case and too many others like it, must be examined to determine whether the law and the administration of justice have adequately reflected our abhorrence of such behaviour or has had the desired deterrent effect." [CARP letter to Minister Nicholson and Fantino, March 3, 2011]
A former Toronto Chief of Police and OPP Commissioner, Minister Fantino did not need much convincing that exacerbated sentencing plays an important role in deterring crime provided it is combined with enhanced investigation and prosecution.
Stiffer sentencing for elder abuse became an election promise, repeated in the June Throne Speech, and is now poised to become law with the introduction of this Bill.
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