POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 47 PREPARED BY PENNY BAIN AND CHARMAINE SPENCER FOR FEDERAL/PROVINCIAL/TERRITORIAL MINISTERS RESPONSIBLE FOR SENIORS IN CANADA p4 factsheet 2 Why Do Abused Older People Often Keep Silent? There is no excuse for abuse or neglect. However, there are many reasons why older people might keep silent. Some believe that the abusive situation they are in is a normal part of life.They may think that they are in the wrong or have caused the abuse. In many cases, the person may be afraid of — •What will happen to them (“Will the situation get worse?” “Will I be forced from my home?”) • What will happen to the abuser (“Will he/she go to jail?”) • What the neighbours, family, or community will think (“What will people say?”) Some older adults may feel they have no place to go, or do not want to leave the home they love, and have invested in with both time and money.They may have concerns about leaving family members and beloved pets.These fears and concerns are real. Older adults are becoming aware that they do not have to live with abuse or neglect.They are beginning to feel it is safe to tell, because they know that people care and that help is available. Sources World Health Organization & International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (2002). Statistics Canada, “Family Violence: A Statistical Profile, 2004.” Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, “What is Senior Abuse?”