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    Seniors living at home: how many are victims of mistreatment and who are most likely to experience mistreatment?

    Montréal, October 28, 2020. – In 2019, nearly 6% of seniors living at home in Québec reported having experienced at least one type of mistreatment in the previous 12 months, representing 78,900 people. This information comes from the report Enquête sur la maltraitance envers les personnes aînées au Québec 2019 – Portrait de la maltraitance vécue à domicile published today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

    This publication presents novel data on the prevalence of five types of mistreatment committed against people aged 65 and over living at home in Québec. It also provides findings on the factors associated with mistreatment, the characteristics of abusers, and the actions that seniors took after experiencing mistreatment.

    Proportion and estimated number of people aged 65 and over living at home in Québec who experienced different types of mistreatment in the 12 months preceding the survey, 2019

    Graph: Proportion and estimated number of people aged 65 and over living at home in Québec who experienced different types of mistreatment in the 12 months preceding the survey, 2019

    * Coefficient of variation between 15% and 25%; interpret with caution.
    Source: Institut de la statistique du Québec.

    Who are the seniors most likely to experience abuse?

    The survey report shows that the prevalence of physical/sexual abuse and that of psychological abuse is higher among women than men.

    It also reveals that material/financial abuse, psychological abuse, and physical/sexual abuse are more prevalent among seniors who:

    • experienced violence before the age of 65;
    • live alone rather than with a spouse;
    • perceive their general or mental health to be fair or poor;
    • need help with daily activities; and
    • receive home services such as nursing, other health services, personal care, or domestic help.

    Who are the abusers?

    • About one-third of the abusers mentioned were living with the seniors at the time of the abuse.
    • Spouses/ex-spouses and children (including step-children) were the most frequently reported perpetrators of psychological abuse (by 25% and 23% of seniors who experienced this type of abuse, respectively).
    • More men than women were mentioned as perpetrators by seniors (regardless of the type of abuse they experienced).

    Seniors rarely talk about the abuse they experience

    • Nearly 3 in 10 seniors who had experienced abuse did not tell anyone about it, whether they had experienced material/financial abuse, psychological abuse, or physical abuse.
    • Among those who had experienced abuse (of any type) and did not tell anyone or seek help, about 4 in 10 said it was because they did not feel the need, felt the situation was not important enough, thought that either telling someone or seeking help would not change anything, or thought that the situation would go away on its own.
    • About 1 in 10 abused seniors said they did not tell anyone or seek help because they felt embarrassed or ashamed or because they did not want the abuser to get into trouble.

     

    About the Survey on Elder Abuse in Québec (SEAQ)

    The SEAQ, carried out by the Institut de la statistique du Québec at the request of the Secrétariat aux aînés of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, focuses on situations of abuse experienced by seniors living at home and able to answer a telephone questionnaire for themselves. In total, 8,860 people aged 65 and over took part in this survey, which took place between February and June 2019 and covered situations that occurred in the 12 months preceding the survey.

     

    View the full SEAQ 2019 report entitled Enquête sur la maltraitance envers les personnes aînées au Québec 2019 – Portrait de la maltraitance vécue au domicile, as well as the methodological report for the survey.


    The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for conducting all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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