You may be worried about making a report to the police, especially if the person harming you is someone you care about (such as your spouse or child). Remember that abusive behavior is not healthy for you or for the person causing harm. It’s okay to reach out for help.
There is no specific criminal offence of “elder abuse.” However, there are criminal offences that apply to different forms of elder abuse, such as assault, harassment, or uttering threats. The majority of the criminal law is set out in the Criminal Code, which applies to all provinces and territories in Canada.
This page provides information on:
The Police Process
To make a report, call the police.
A police officer will want to talk to you in person and will ask you many questions. Some of those questions may be difficult to answer but give as much information as possible. You will have to tell the police officer who is abusing you. What you tell the police will be recorded in a document called a Statement. Once the Statement is complete, the police officer will ask you to sign it. Be sure to ask for a copy it. Get the police officer’s name and phone number and, if possible, the reference or file number of the report. If you later remember something you should have said, you can contact the officer and give them this new information. If you cannot tell the police what happened because of illness, injury or disability, the police can still look for other evidence.
Be sure to tell the police officer if you are being threatened or if you are in any danger. You may need to make a plan to keep yourself safe. The police can help you do that or connect you to other people who can help (such as victim services workers).
The police will investigate your complaint. They may
- interview family members, caregivers, and neighbours who may have evidence about the incident
- interview the person causing harm
- gather any other evidence that is relevant to the complaint. If you have been physically injured, the police may take photos of your injuries. If the abuse has taken place at a certain location, the police may secure this location to preserve evidence.
If the police think the person causing harm has committed a crime, they will prepare a report for the Crown counsel. This report is called a “Report to Crown Counsel” or “particulars of charge”. The Crown counsel will look at the report from the police and decide if the person should be charged with a crime. If there is enough evidence that a crime has been committed, an Information will be laid and the police will arrest the person causing harm.
Sometimes the police will arrest a person suspected of committing a crime. If the person is arrested, the police will either:
- keep that person in custody if they believe they are a risk to others or may not show up for court. The Crown counsel will have to convince a judge that the person should not be released, or
- let the person go with conditions attached to their release (this is known as “bail”). Conditions can include not contacting you (called a No-Contact Order), paying money into court (a recognizance), or reporting to a bail supervisor.
Any person charged with a crime has the right to be considered for bail. No one can automatically be held in custody until trial. The accused must be given a bail hearing within 24 hours of being arrested.
The police will inform you whether or not the person causing harm is charged. If the person is charged, the Crown counsel will prosecute them (you do not hire your own lawyer).
Victim Services workers offer support to victims of crime. They can provide you with information, practical assistance and emotional support that you need throughout the process. They can also help you communicate your needs and concerns to the police or Crown counsel. Some Victim Services programs are community-based and others are police-based.
Community-based Victim Services
- Edmonton John Howard Society: 780.423.1635
- Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary: 403.294.0737
Police-based Victim Services
- Edmonton Police Services – Victim Services: 780.421.2217
- Calgary Police Service – Victim Assistance Support Team: 403.428.8398 or 1.888.327.7828
If you do not live in Edmonton or Calgary, your local police or RCMP detachment can put you in contact with a local Victim Services unit.