New toll-free number to report elder abuse

Interior Health is the first health authority in the province to introduce a region-wide number to report abuse.

A new toll-free number for the entire Interior Health region will make it easier to report elder abuse.

A new, confidential toll-free number is now available throughout the Interior Health (IH) region, that will allow people to quickly and easily report the mistreatment of older adults.

Anyone within the IH area who has concerns regarding elder abuse can call 1-844-870-4754, to be connected with an IH staff member who is trained to respond to such situations. As a designated agency under the Adult Guardianship Act, health authorities must investigate in person any case of suspected elder abuse reported to them.

Interior Health has always had phone numbers for the reporting of elder abuse in each community, but the toll-free number will make it easier for people reporting  abuse to connect with IH says Brett Butchart, the IH’s knowledge coordinator for vulnerable and incapable adults.

“It’s a number for all the Interior Health region,” he says. “People don’t have to find a local number; there’s one number for everything.”

He says the number is there for anyone with concerns about an elderly person being vulnerable, whether through any form of abuse, neglect or self-neglect, or health issues. It is not just for family members; someone concerned about an elderly friend or neighbour can call the number to report the situation. The names of those who call in are kept confidential.

Isobel Mackenzie, the BC Seniors Advocate, applauds the measure. “Our office has been working with health authorities about elder abuse, and making it easier to get help.” She says that Interior Health is the first health authority in the province to establish a single toll-free number to call to report elder abuse.

Elder abuse takes many forms, including physical, financial, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse, as well as neglect or self-neglect. It can affect anyone, and can occur anywhere.

“Nobody should have to suffer silently,” says IH board chair Erwin Malzer. “We all need to stand up and speak out on behalf of those who may be unable to advocate for themselves.”

While almost 16 per cent of B.C.’s population is over the age of 65, that number is higher within the IH region (22 per cent), and is climbing. With an ageing society, it is increasingly important to educate people to recognize signs of elder abuse and provide the tools to stop it.

Butchart says that calls to the toll-free number are triaged based on the urgency of the situation—“It depends a lot on what the abuse is”—but adds that all calls are investigated.

“People have a right to live in any manner they wish, but we’re there to support them in any way we can to help them live independently for as long as possible. We want to make sure we give people the help they need.”

Just Posted

Opinion: The Second Street development might be a problem – but it’s not council’s problem

Reporter Kate Saylors writes about the common misconception surrounding a BC Housing development.

What’s happening for Family Day in the Boundary

Activities in and around Grand Forks offer something for everyone.

Call a foul on cancer with the Pink Whistle Campaign

Local basketball referees are raising money for cancer research

Petition on Second Street project presented to council

Over 1,000 signatures were gathered, but staff say council can’t do much about the project.

Have an escape plan, meeting place in event of fire

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue offers tips to keep your family prepared.

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read