Evidence of meeting #11 for Status of Women in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was seniors.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Patricia Fleischmann  Police Constable, Community Mobilization Unit, Toronto Police Service
  • Jared Buhler  Elder Abuse Intervention Team, Edmonton Police Service
  • Isobel Fitzpatrick  Detective Sergeant, Coordinator, Eastern Regional Abuse Issues, Ontario Provincial Police
  • Isabelle Coady  Detective, Elder Abuse Unit, Ottawa Police Service
  • Leslie Craig  Inspector, Manager, Crime Prevention Section, Ontario Provincial Police

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe London North Centre, ON

There will be more abuse, right. I agree with your study. There are a lot more people getting older and there will be more elderly out there in a few years.

Do you think there's more awareness of elderly abuse? Before, we never really heard of any abuse going on with the elderly.

4:15 p.m.

Cst Patricia Fleischmann

I think there is increasing awareness.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe London North Centre, ON

Okay, thank you.

Am I good for one more?

4:15 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Irene Mathyssen

Yes, one more question.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe London North Centre, ON

I'm sharing the last one with Tilly.

November 22nd, 2011 / 4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Miramichi, NB

Thank you. We are happy to have you with us this afternoon, Ms. Fleischmann. I want to congratulate you on a great presentation.

I'm wondering if you could explain how can we get cases to be taken more seriously. You mentioned that they're not taking this as seriously as they should be. Is there something we can do to make people realize that these cases are really important and should be taken more seriously?

4:15 p.m.

Cst Patricia Fleischmann

It's often said that with elder abuse, we are where we were with domestic violence back in the 1960s and 1970s. So perhaps it is a matter of time before we will get to the point where elder abuse is taken as seriously as domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.

When we talk about the abuse and neglect of older adults, I believe it is partly due to ageism. My belief is that ageism is the reason these types of cases are not treated as seriously as others.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Irene Mathyssen

Thank you.

Now to Ms. Freeman.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair. I'll be splitting my time with my colleagues on this side.

Thank you, Ms. Fleischmann.

We've heard testimony that in cases of senior abuse, people in the criminal justice system often speak to the people who surround seniors but not to the seniors themselves. Maybe this is the ageism that you're speaking of. What strategies can be employed to ensure that testimony and evidence from seniors themselves is protected through the judicial process?

4:15 p.m.

Cst Patricia Fleischmann

I think it's something that happens in all areas. We are talking about an understanding, an awareness, of the issues. We are talking about ongoing education and training. This is something that needs to be repeated as more information becomes available. As we learn new things, as we hear about new crimes, as we talk, communicate, and share, this is something that we need to take seriously. After all, we are talking about our parents. We are talking about our grandparents. We are talking about extended family members. We are talking about neighbours. We are talking about friends. One day, as we are all aging, we will be talking about ourselves.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

I'm going to stop you there so that I can keep pressing.

You mentioned training. What kind of training could we be doing?

4:15 p.m.

Cst Patricia Fleischmann

Many police services provide internal training. Certainly in Toronto I have spoken to our police recruit classes. I speak to our diversity class. I speak to our crime prevention class. At the Ontario Police College, over the last several years, there have been regular elder abuse conferences. The hope is that through these continued elder abuse conferences, there will one day be an elder abuse investigator course at the Ontario Police College. For the time being, elder abuse examples are given in some of the other courses at the college.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

So this would be something that you think would be useful.

4:15 p.m.

Cst Patricia Fleischmann

Absolutely.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

In your article, “Abuse of Older Adults: an Ontario Criminal Justice Perspective”, you say that subtle and generally unrealized ageist behaviour can be detected in police personnel, prosecutors, defence counsel, and even the judiciary. You say that it surfaces in the manner in which older adults are described, communicated with, and perceived by others.

What strategies does the Toronto Police Service employ to eliminate ageism? What are the actual strategies?