Senior citizens’ advocates unveil anti-intimidation posters

CLAVA plans awareness-raising walk-a-thon on June 15

Senior citizens’ advocates unveil anti-intimidation posters
Quebec Minister for Seniors and Anti-Bullying Francine Charbonneau and Mayor Marc Demers are seen here with CLAVA officials during the unveiling of new posters drawing attention to the intimidation of senior citizens earlier this week at the Laval-des-Rapides Community Centre.
Martin C. Barry

Six organizations in Laval that work towards reducing and raising awareness of elder abuse problems unveiled new promotional posters last Monday at the Laval-des-Rapides Community Centre.

Charbonneau and mayor

Mille-Îles Liberal MNA Francine Charbonneau, who is the Minister Responsible for Senior Citizens and Anti-Bullying, and Laval mayor Marc Demers were among the 30 or so guests at the unveiling sponsored by the Comité lavallois en abus et violence envers les aînés (CLAVA), in conjunction with the Table régionale de concertation des aînés de Laval, FADOQ Laval, DIRA-Laval, AQDR Laval-Laurentides and the CISSS de Laval.

CLAVA had been given a subsidy by the Ministry of Senior Citizens to produce the posters. Based on observations gathered from senior citizens, interveners, volunteers and others who might be affected by senior abuse problems, the posters illustrate those preoccupations. One of the most dominant of these concerns is the issue of intimidation, which is psychological and often precedes outright physical abuse.

Intimidation must stop

“The intimidation of seniors is on a fine line just before abuse,” said Charbonneau who has worked extensively to develop new criteria and legislation to deal with seniors abuse as well as bullying. “If we are able to detect what’s being done, we can stop it from happening and make things so that seniors can have dignity while being in an environment that’s safe and secure.”

Charbonneau said that the vulnerability and isolation of certain people can make them more susceptible to being intimidated or treated unjustly by abusers. “When someone is alone they are not as good at defending themselves,” she said. “They might allow themselves to be attacked with words, with gestures. So we must be vigilant, while making certain that our senior citizens receive support and are always secure.”

No place for bullying

Mayor Demers, a former investigator with the Laval Police Department, said he had many opportunities to see for himself during his law enforcement career that senior citizens were often among those being abused when they were vulnerable. “We must denounce all forms of intimidation,” he said, commending the senior citizens’ advocacy groups for taking on that role.

“It’s often people close by – sometimes family members, sometimes neighbours – who become intimidating,” Demers continued. “There is a lot of education which needs to be done, as well as the responsibility of denouncing it. It is a responsibility shared by everybody. It is our duty when we see that there is intimidation involved with a person to try to find a way to give them support, to intervene or to find the resources to help them.”

Walking event June 15

On June 15, CLAVA and the partner organizations will be staging their second annual ‘Laval en marche pour la bientraitance des personnes aînés’ walking event. Last year, this awareness-raising gathering drew 330 walkers, and this year nearly 500 are expected.

Anyone who wants to take part can register at the web site, or by telephone at 450 667-8839. Walkers will be turning up at the chalet in Parc des Prairies in Laval-des-Rapides beginning at 8:30 am, with the start scheduled for 9:30 am. There are two and four-kilometre trajectories, with the event expected to conclude around 12 noon.