Tories vow crackdown on elder abuse

A re-elected Conservative government would have judges take into account vulnerability due to age when sentencing elder abusers, Stephen Harper said Friday.

A re-elected Conservative government would change the criminal code to add vulnerability due to age as an aggravating factor in elder abuse, Stephen Harper said Friday.

The move would allow for stiffer sentences for those who take advantage of older Canadians.

"Seniors have built this country and in doing so provide us the wisdom to address the challenges ahead," Harper said.

The Conservative leader says the change would mean those who prey on vulnerable seniors will get sentences that reflect society's condemnation of these crimes.

"We hope it will mean criminals will be deterred from victimizing seniors," Harper said.

"Elderly Canadians, our seniors, have earned our gratitude for a life of hard work in service to our families, our communities and our country," Harper said. 

"Helping and protecting seniors was the kind of thing our government was working on before this election. It's the kind of thing we're going to keep working on."

A 2007 report by Statistics Canada showed reports of violence against seniors rose 20 per cent between 1998 and 2005.

In 2005, there were 160 violent incidents for every 100,000 seniors, almost 14 times lower than the rate recorded for persons aged 15 to 24.