Report: financially abused B.C. seniors not getting help

November 3, 2017, Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. – More than one-third of seniors in Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District don’t tell anyone when they’ve suffered financial abuse.

The troubling finding is part of a new report Vancity released today as part of Financial Literacy Month. The report, Suffering in Silence: The financial abuse of seniors in British Columbia, shows little has changed in the three years since Vancity first investigated the issue of the financial abuse of seniors and that more must be done to combat the problem.

The report draws from a new Vancity survey conducted by the Mustel Group of people over age 65 in Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District, and from the latest provincial, national and international research. It reveals that:

  • 35 per cent of seniors who experience at least one type of financial abuse choose not to tell anyone.
  • Of those seniors who experienced financial abuse and did not report, 21 per cent say they didn’t know who to tell.
  • More than 80 per cent of seniors could not name any support services available for seniors who may be victims of financial abuse.
  • There continues to be a large gap between unprompted reports of financial abuse (three per cent) and reported abuse when respondents are presented with specific scenarios (36 per cent), indicating many seniors may not understand the ways in which they may be victims.
  • The most common forms of financial abuse in B.C. reported to the Seniors Abuse and Information were related to people exploiting seniors for shelter or money; pressuring them to lend, give gifts or change their will; misuse of power of attorney; and real estate.
  • A national study indicates in 37 per cent of incidents of financial abuse, the perpetrator was an adult child or grandchild.

With knowledge about elder abuse lagging as much as two decades behind the fields of child abuse and domestic violence, Vancity is calling for more research, awareness and support to combat the financial abuse of seniors. The report’s recommendations include financial institutions providing support specifically designed for senior members/customers and governments providing more funding for seniors’ organizations that combat abuse.

As part of its efforts, Vancity is hosting a series of seminars throughout Metro Vancouver and in Victoria to help seniors understand how to help prevent and/or address financial abuse. For more information, visit: vancity.com/AboutVancity/Events/

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“It’s heartbreaking to think there are seniors out there who are being abused and are suffering in silence, either because they don’t know where to turn for help or are too afraid to ask for it. The fact that financial abuse often takes place within families or dependent relationships makes it very difficult to fully understand and even harder to reduce.” Catherine Ludgate, Vancity manager of community investment

Additional information:

About Vancity

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 523,000 member-owners and their communities in the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw territories, with 59 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay. With $25.6 billion in assets plus assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union. Vancity uses its assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

Tweet us @vancity and connect with us on Facebook.com/Vancity.

For more information:

Brent Shearer | Vancity
T: 778-837-0394
mediarelations@vancity.com

 

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