Elder Abuse and Police Interventions: A New Practice Model Being Implemented

By next summer, all police officers at the 32 neighbourhood stations in Montreal will be equipped to combat elder abuse.

This spring, in the wake of a two-phase pilot trial, the Research Chair on Mistreatment of Older Adults will be publishing an analysis of the data gathered at 7 neighbourhood police stations of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM or Montreal police force). This project aims to validate a new policing intervention model to combat elder abuse. The results will make it possible to bring improvements to the practice model and to measure the effects of the new procedures developed in the police intervention project to counter elder abuse (IPAM).

Led jointly with the SPVM and the Research Chair, the IPAM project aims to give police officers the skills to better identify and prevent cases of elder abuse, and to assist abused seniors. The SPVM has integrated an innovative approach to process all elder abuse cases, regardless of whether or not they are of criminal origin.

Led by Titular Chairholder and Researcher Dr. Marie Beaulieu and by Ms. Michelle Côté, the head of the SPVM's research and strategic planning division, the IPAM project has received $700,000 in funding over three years (2013-2016) from the Government of Canada as part of its New Horizons for Seniors Program. This project has benefitted from the contributions of many researchers, research offices, and police officers and advisors from various SPVM units, and the primary Montreal police partners in the fight against elder abuse.

January 20: Webinar

January 20: A webinar organized by the Research Chair on the Mistreatment of Older Adults and the SPVM will be held on police interventions to counter elder abuse (IPAM) from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST (http://www.cnpea.ca/en/calendar-events/webinars).


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Elder abuse is a topic which receives little attention in police training. "After Japan, Canada ranks second among nations which are aging most rapidly," noted Dr. Beaulieu. "Within the next 15 years, more than 25% of all Canadians will be aged 65 and older."

This phenomenon is already a sensitive issue in big cities such as Montreal where many seniors live alone.

Police officers are asked to intervene in many situations involving abuse in homes and in residential centres. In order to help police officers in their interventions and after having documented best practices, inventoried existing practices in Montreal, and identified needs, the Research Chair and the SPVM have jointly developed a standardized method. This method includes a cross-sectoral dimension involving the social actors of the public and community networks, which are also called upon to provide assistance in cases involving abuse.

The method developed in Montreal is innovative. Once the intervention model has proven its merit, the Research Chair and the SPVM hope to disseminate it to other police corps throughout Canada.





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