More than 12,000 reports of violence against seniors were recorded in 2018, according to a new report from Statistics Canada titled Family Violence in Canada.
The report shows police across Canada reported 12,202 cases of violence against individuals aged 65 and older. One-third of senior victims experienced family violence, which the report defines as violence committed by spouses (legally married, separated, divorced and common-law), children (biological, step, adopted and foster), siblings (biological, step, half, adopted and foster) and extended family members (such as grandchildren, nephews, nieces, cousins and in-laws). The report also tracks violence against children and youth by dating or other intimate partners, friends, casual acquaintances, authority figures, strangers, and others.
Among senior victims of family violence, females were most likely to be victimized by a spouse (14 per cent). Senior male victims were most often victimized by their children (nine per cent).
Between 2017 and 2018, family violence against seniors increased four per cent while non-family violence increased by two per cent in line with larger trends. Between 2009 and 2018, family violence against seniors rose 11 per cent and non-family violence rose by 15 per cent.
The vast majority of senior females (92 per cent) and male (88 per cent) victims of family violence were victimized in a residential location. Of those victims, approximately six in 10 (62 per cent of female victims and 58 per cent of male victims) lived with the person who victimized them.
Eight per cent of reported cases of violence against seniors happened at nursing homes. Of this number, most victims (79 per cent) were victims of a physical assault, while almost two in 10 (18 per cent) were the victim of a sexual assault. The remaining victims were victims of other violent behaviours.
When looking specifically at incidents involving a single victim and a single accused, more than seven in 10 (71 per cent) of senior victims of violence were victimized by a casual acquaintance, often another senior (85 per cent).
These numbers will likely draw additional attention in the future. According to the most recent population projections, one in five (20 per cent) of Canadians could be aged 65 and older by 2024, with the number growing from there.
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