Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Elder Abuse why don't victims seek help?
Fear is the biggest factor in not asking for help, Belief that abuse is a normal part of family life is another reason. The abuser may have over time had the abused victim believe that he or she is in the wrong and has caused or deserves the abuse.
Many have lived good lives and now we feel shame and disbelief that such a thing is happening to them. Abused victims may feel uncertainty about what will happen if they report the abuse:
o Will things get worse?
o Will they be forced to leave their home?
These fears are terrifying. The factors are similar to those inhibiting abused children from reporting what is happening.
Many abused victims have a large concern about being believed – and, in fact may not be, because the abuser can convince those in authority that the abused is suffering from dementia or paranoia.
Abused victims wonder and worry what will happen:
o Will the abuser go to jail?
o Will he/she retaliate?
o What will the neighbours, family, or community say?
Abusers isolate their victims so the victim think they have no one to tell or no one to ask for help. Another reason is that the abused is dependent on the abuser for care or support and fears what will happen if that support is withdrawn.
If you suspect abuse or neglect is occurring, you may feel the need to intervene – please do not ignore the situation
If you need advice about what to do, call one of the authorities. When it is safe to do so, speak privately with the victim. Always assume that the senior is capable and believable. When talking to a victim:
· Avoid giving direct advice
· Listen first and then talk about how you might help
· Listen without judging; many seniors have been brought up not to “make waves”
· Let the abused or neglected person know that you care
· Respect their right to make decisions about what to do; at the same time, encourage them to seek help
· Find out if they need assistance or there is someone you can contact
· Make careful notes of what is said including dates, witness information (if applicable) and your observations
Understand that for the victim, leaving an abusive situation is difficult and the process may be gradual.
For your own safety, do not confront the suspected abuser. Remember that even if the abuser seems like a pleasant person or is your friend that you should not underestimate or deny what is going on. The most dangerous time for the victim is when the abuser is threatened with exposure or loss of control. Remember: If the situation is dangerous for the victim, call the police immediately
We must realize that abuse and neglect do exist in your own community and educate yourself about local resources Contact the authorities. In BC, abuse should be reported to the Regional Health Authority and the Police. When the Regional Health Authority receives a report of abuse, neglect or self-neglect, it must:
o Investigate the situation
o Involve the adult as much as possible and discuss his or her wishes and needs
o Refer the adult to health care, social, legal, accommodation or other services
o As applicable:
• Report criminal offences to the police
• Apply to the court for a restraining order