www.allaboutestates.ca, an expert on seniors' issues, click here.
This new law, also called Bill C-36, makes an amendment to our existing Criminal Code. It does NOT create a new crime of elder abuse. What is does do is add a bit more juice to a judge's power to punish someone who is guilty of elder abuse.
In our Criminal Code, there are a number of things that a judge can take into consideration when deciding what sentence a person should get for a crime. Some are aggravating factors that would cause the judge to give a harsher sentence. These would be things like the accused having a record of similar crimes.
The judge can also take mitigating factors into consideration. These are things that would cause a judge to give a lighter sentence, such as a thief returning what he stole.
The aggravating and mitigating circumstances that a judge can consider are set out in section 718.2 of the Criminal Code. The new law, Bill C-36, adds a new aggravating factor - that being “evidence that the offence had a significant impact on the victim, considering their age and other personal circumstances, including their health and financial situation”.
In other words, the judge may consider giving a harsher sentence to someone convicted of elder abuse.
Now we just have to figure out how to make sure that elder abusers actually end up in court. That will be no easy task, partly because so many perpetrators are family members and know exactly how to conceal their actions and persuade their elder family members not to expose them.
For those of you interested in elder abuse issues, I'm adding some new links to the "interesting links" section of this blog. Hope you find them useful.