Equality and Justice
For People With Disabilities

Interview with Kim McDonald from Elder Abuse Response & Referral Service

Published on June 12, 2018

Interview with Kim McDonald from Elder Abuse Response & Referral Service

By: Ashley An, University of Ottawa Law Student

Reach recently had the opportunity to speak with Kim McDonald, who is the case manager and education coordinator for the Elder Abuse Response & Referral Service (EARRS). EARRS is based out of the Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre located in Nepean, Ontario.

Kim and her colleague - an intake worker - provide information, consultation, assessment and case management to seniors who are being subject to physical, emotional, financial or sexual abuse, as well as family members, service providers, and caregivers that may suspect elder abuse. EARRS also has an extensive list of sources from which it can refer its clients to, some of which include: Champlain LHIN, the Dementia Society, lawyer referral services, Community Health and Resource Centres, or the Victim Crisis Unit with the Ottawa Police (if criminal activities are alleged).

Clients can call 613-596-5626 ext. 230 to seek assistance, between the hours of 8:30am - 4pm, Monday to Friday. Incoming and outgoing calls are kept completely anonymous to make it more accessible for people to call in. Services are offered both in English and French, and free of charge. EARRS is an Ottawa based service and includes the rural communities.

Kim emphasized the importance of exploring options with clients and seeking help as early as possible. She explained that situations involving elder abuse often have multiple layers of complexities including: the need to respect the personal wishes of the senior, family dynamics, and possible cognitive impairment or mental health challenges. Therefore, it is important to intervene in the situation early on before the matter becomes too complex.