Change font size:

Zoom

  • Increase
  • Decrease
  • Normal

Current Zoom: 100%

Elder Abuse: The Hidden Crime

Language
Step 1: Choose language Step 2: Choose from available formats and options
Available formats and options

When does elder abuse have to be reported?

Long-term care homes and retirement homes

Reporting abuse is mandatory when the victim lives in a long-term care home or a retirement home.

The law requires reporting by anyone who knows or has reasonable grounds to suspect that a resident has been, or might be, harmed by any of the following:

  • improper or incompetent treatment or care,
  • abuse of a resident by anyone,
  • neglect of a resident by a staff member or the owner of the home,
  • illegal conduct,
  • misuse or fraud involving a resident's money, or
  • misuse or fraud involving public funding provided to the home (long-term care homes only).

This obligation to report applies to everyone except other residents of the home. Members of regulated health care professions, social workers, and naturopaths must report even if the information is otherwise confidential.

How to report

If the victim lives in a long-term care home, the abuse must be reported to the Director at the Ministry of Health and LongTerm Care. This can be done by calling the toll-free ACTION Line at 1-866-434-0144 (7 days a week, 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.).

If the victim lives in a retirement home, the abuse must be reported to the Registrar of the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority. This can be done by calling 1-855-275-7472 (1-855-ASK-RHRA).

The Director or the Registrar must look into all reports of abuse, and must send an inspector to the home immediately if the report is about harm or risk of harm due to:

  • improper or incompetent treatment or care,
  • abuse of a resident by anyone,
  • neglect of a resident by a staff member or the owner of the home, or
  • illegal conduct.

The operator of the home, whether a long-term care home or a retirement home, is also required to immediately contact the police if there is an alleged, suspected, or witnessed incident of abuse or neglect of a resident that may be a crime.

Other settings

If the victim of elder abuse lives in their own home or in any other setting, the law does not require anyone to report the abuse. In some cases, reporting might be required by someone's employment duties, a contract for services, or a professional code of ethics.

But victims, or anyone else who suspects elder abuse, can report their concerns to the police, health or social services, or a legal service. No matter where cases of abuse and serious neglect happen, these may be crimes and should be reported to the police.