Owner, staff charged with abuse, negligence at Vaughan centre for people with disabilities
The Hope Centre has been shut down and attendees have been returned to their families, York police say
The owners of an unlicensed support centre for adults with disabilities in Vaughan have been charged with assaulting and neglecting multiple clients who attended day programs at the facility.
York Regional Police launched an investigation into the Hope Centre on Romina Drive, near Jane Street and Langstaff Road, in August after a concerned family member reported possible abuse.
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Other additional victims were identified throughout the investigation, said Const. Laura Nicolle, a spokesperson for York police. She would not clarify how many were people were affected.
"This is a very upsetting situation for everyone involved," she said.
"We are putting out the information because we want to ensure that no one else has been a victim."
The owner, her husband and son, all of whom worked at the centre, were arrested last Friday when officers executed a search warrant.
The Hope Centre has since been shut down and attendees have been returned to their families.
"People were paying for their loved ones to attend, hoping that they're receiving support and positive environments, and essentially that wasn't occurring," said Nicolle.
It's very shocking and I think it's something we never want to see.- Const. Laura Nicolle, York Regional Police
Allegations include physically assaulting and forcibly confining victims, along with not providing adequate food, medication or supervision, she added.
A 47-year-old Vaughan woman has been charged with assault, failure to provide necessaries of life and fraud.
Her 41-year-old husband of Kleinberg, Ont., is charged with assault.
Their 27-year-old son is charged with assault, failure to provide necessaries of life and forcible confinement.
They are slated to appear in a Newmarket court on Nov. 17.
The investigation is still ongoing. Police are asking anyone who may have been a victim at the centre to come forward.
"It's very very disturbing, I think, to anybody who reads something like this to know that these people were taking advantage of those families, collecting their money and then not providing any kind of care," said Nicolle.
"It's very shocking and I think it's something we never want to see. Anytime we see people victimizing any vulnerable members of our society, it's something I don't think any of us ever get used to."