A new report out of Ottawa acts as a sad reminder of how few elder abuse cases actually lead to charges. The difficulties of bringing such charges to fruition should be understood, because in order to improve safety throughout the country, there need to be improvements made in this regard.
This particular study found the Justice Department analyzing 453 cases where a report of elder abuse came into and prompted an investigation by police in the Ottawa area. A depressing 17% of these cases led to someone being charged with a crime, meaning more than four out of five instances of suspected elder abuse may go unpunished.
This is somewhat maddening, but it makes sense when you realize how hard it is to bring charges. Sometimes, there is simply not enough evidence available in order to secure charges, and many times the circumstances are such that a victim is not willing to come forward to identify the accuser.
There are a number of reasons why this could be. If a family member is the perpetrator, the victim may be worried about what bringing criminal charges could do to their family. They might also be scared about what could happen to their financial situation if they identify a perpetrator. Unfortunately, if the abuse itself is financial, this can compound an already difficult situation.