POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 61 Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse is defined as non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with a person. Sexual contact with any person incapable of giving consent is also considered sexual abuse. It may include unwanted touching, all types of sexual assault or battery (such as rape, sodomy, coerced nudity), sexually explicit photographing, the forcing or coercing of degrading, humiliating, or painful sexual acts. Signs and symptoms of sexual abuse may include but are not limited to: • bruises around the breasts or genital area; • unexplained venereal disease or genital infections; • unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding; • torn, stained, or bloody underclothing; and • an older person’s report of being sexually assaulted or raped. Emotional or Psychological Abuse Emotional or psychological abuse is defined as the infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts. Emotional/psychological abuse may include verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment. Treating an older person like an infant or child; isolating an older person from her/his family, friends, or regular activities; actively withholding access to grandchildren; giving an older person the “silent treatment;” and enforced social isolation are also examples of emotional/psychological abuse. Signs and symptoms of emotional/psychological abuse may include but are not limited to: • being emotionally upset or agitated; • being extremely withdrawn and noncommunicative or non-responsive; • unusual behaviour usually attributed to dementia (e.g., sucking, biting, rocking); and • an older person’s report of being verbally or emotionally mistreated. Financial Abuse Financial abuse (sometimes referred to as financial or material exploitation) is defined as the illegal or improper use of an older person’s funds, property, or assets. Examples include cashing an older adult’s cheque(s) without authorization or permission; forging an older person’s signature; misusing or stealing an older person’s money or possessions; coercing or deceiving an older person into signing any document (e.g., contracts or will); and the improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney. Signs and symptoms of financial or material exploitation may include but are not limited to: • sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the older adult; • the inclusion of additional names on an older person’s bank signature card; • unauthorized withdrawal of the older person’s funds using her or his ATM card; • abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents; • unexplained purchases or abuse of funds by persons appointed as Power of Attorney; • unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions; • substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources; • discovery of an older person’s signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of her/his possessions; • sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an older person’s affairs and possessions; • unexplained sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family; • the provision of services that are not necessary; and • an older person’s report of financial exploitation. About Senior Abuse . . . Continued Continued