04/01/2013 11:47 EDT | Updated 06/01/2013 05:12 EDT

Elder abuse reporting should be mandatory, group says

An association representing retired Quebecers is calling on the provincial government to do more to prevent elder abuse.

According to the Quebec Association of Retired and Semi-Retired People (AQRP), between four and eight per cent of the province’s senior citizens are abused, representing approximately 100,000 Quebecers.

The Quebec government launched its action plan to counter elder abuse back in 2010, which included an awareness campaign and the establishment of a toll-free number to report abuse and additional human resources.

But AQRP spokesman Mathieu Santerre is asking for additional help.

"We ask for mandatory reporting of elder abuse from, for example, physicians, nurses and all the people ... who give services to elderly people," he said.

He said senior citizens are often afraid to report cases of abuse, which can range from neglect to physical violence to financial exploitation, because they’re often related in some way to their abusers.

“We love each other [in family situations], so it’s very difficult to report,” he said.

He said abuse can lead to stress, malnutrition, depression and even suicide.

Santerre urged people to report cases of elder abuse to 1-866-497-1548.