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Personal Safety

Protecting yourself when in public, in your relationships with other people and alone at home are all important aspects to a positive lifestyle. Becoming informed about what you can do to recognize abuse, stay safe and report safety concerns are all ways to protect your personal safety.

This section of our website includes information and resources about:

  1. Human Rights
  2. Personal Robbery
  3. Domestic Violence
  4. Elder Abuse
  5. Missing Persons
  6. Sexual Assault

Ontario Human Rights Code

It is important to know your human rights to protect yourself against abuse and discrimination.

Learn more about your human rights at the OHRC website.

Personal Robbery

Robbery offenders are usually desperate and unpredictable. To protect yourself from personal robbery:

  • Pick safe routes and know your surroundings
  • Stay in well-lit areas that have other people around
  • Stand or sit near others when using public transportation, do not isolate yourself
  • Walk and run outside with a group or another person
  • Conceal personal items and electronics you are carrying with you

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is any use of physical or sexual force, actual or threatened, in an intimate relationship. An intimate relationship may include current and former dating relationships, common-law relationships, married relationships, persons who are the parents of one or more children together.

Domestic Violence may include numerous acts forming a pattern of abuse or a single act of violence. The patter of abuse can include:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Stalking
  • Threats to harm children, other family members, pets or property

Many incidents go unreported. Domestic Violence can be found in households in every community across Canada regardless of income or social status. The Port Hope Police Service prioritizes dealing with Domestic Violence as it affects all aspects of society and plays a part in many serious incidents. We are committed to providing timely and effective response to Domestic Violence cases and investigations. 

Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse is any action or inaction by self or others that jeopardizes the health or well-being of an older adult. This can include:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Medication abuse
  • Passive or active neglect
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse

There are many factors contributing to abuse and each case is unique. In some families members are hostile and non-nuturing in general, or adult children who were abused by their parents carry the practice on. In other cases, a history of wife abuse may carry on or the roles may become reversed if the former abusing partner is incapacitated.


In some cases alcohol, drug or gambling addiction can cause financial, psychological or physical abuse. In some cases abuse may be linked to the abuser's use of alcohol. Problem gambling can be caused by a senior who is gambling their own money or a family member who is using an elderly person's funds to pay for gambling.


Abuse may occur because the abuser doesn't know about the aging process or the needs of elderly people and has a prejudicial view of older adults. They may neglect the elderly person because they think they have no useful role or they may not accept the older adult's dependency.


Elderly persons may be dependent on family members in some way. This dependency can set the stage for abuse. In some cases the younger persons' dependency on the elderly person may cause the abuse, such as when a song or daughter is dependent on an elderly person for money or shelter.


Sometimes the stress of taking care of an aging adult may lead way to abuse. Lack of resources and time may contribute.

Missing Persons

Prior to reporting a missing person, the following must be checked:

  • Hospitals in the area
  • Friends, acquaintances, family
  • School and / or employer
  • Frequent places the person goes

All missing persons must be reported to the police. Each case involves risk assessment and identification of the nature and urgency of the report. If a person is deemed missing, a police member may be dispatched or the file will be forwarded to the appropriate resources for further investigation.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is an assault of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the victim. It can be aggravated or not, involve bodily harm or weapons, and/or involve a serial offendor or a one-time offender. Each sexual assault is different and the investigation into each is conducted with sensitivity and professionalism. There are several factors to be considered:

  • The part of the body touched
  • The nature of the contact
  • The situation in which the contact occurred
  • The words and gestures
  • Circumstances surrounding the act
  • Any threats that may or may not be accompanied by force

The victim of sexual assault can be a man or woman and the attacker can be of the same sex as the victim. The attacker could be someone known to the victim, their spouse or partner, or it could be someone unknown.

Anyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or an offence punishable on summary conviction and  liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.

The principles of consent that apply to assault also apply to sexual assault. The victim must freely consent to the act and must understand the nature of the act being consented to for sexual assault NOT to have occurred. Consent is voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question.

No consent occurs when:

  •  Agreement is expressed by words or conduct of a person other than the victim
  • The complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity
  • The accused induces the complainant to engage in the act (by abusing a position of trust, power, authority)
  • The complainant expresses by words or conduct a lack of agreement to engage in the act
  • The complainant, having consented to engage in the activity, expresses (by words or conduct) a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the activity

A person who is under the age of sixteen cannot consent to sexual activity with another person who is five or more years older than them. A person who is under the age of fourteen years cannot consent to sexual activity with another person who is two or more years older than them. In any case, a person in authority cannot use consent as a defence of having sexual activity with a person under the age of sixteen.