Fear of crime amongst older people must be addressed PDF Print E-mail

Wednesday 25 April 2012

In response to PSNI figures published by the Belfast Telegraph today, an Age Sector Platform spokesperson said:

"Crimes against older people in their own homes evoke a strong sense of outrage across all members of our society, and rightly so.  The fact that vulnerable people within our communities are potentially being targeted simply because of their age or frailty is a despicable thought, and we share the outrage felt by others.  It is important that a strong message is sent to criminals who target older people.  A high success rate in arresting and charging these criminals by the police could not only act as a major deterrent; but will also provide much needed re-assurance for thousands of older people living in fear of such crimes.


Although the PSNI reassure us that these types of attacks are rare, we also know that fear of crime amongst older people here is very high.  This needs to be addressed.  Age Sector Platform believes that older people have a right to live free from fear of crime within their home and community. 


Earlier this year, as part of the 2012 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, we conducted a survey with around 1,200 older people across the province; and were shocked to find that almost two out of three (64%) older people remain fearful of being a victim of crime.  It is clear that older people’s fear of being a victim of crime heavily outweighs the chances of actually being a victim.  However, we can’t take the impact of this fear lightly as it has a significant impact on the health and well-being of our older population. 


We need to be careful not to increase the fear factor and the last thing we want is for older people to lock themselves away like prisoners in their own homes.  It is important our older population have the confidence to remain vital active members of our communities.  Age Sector Platform has worked alongside the relevant authorities on this issue and will continue to do so.  A new community safety strategy is currently being developed by the Department of Justice and this provides a timely opportunity to tackle this serious problem head on.


In the Programme for Government (PfG), the Executive has pledged to tackle crime against older people and to reduce fear of crime among older people in the coming years.  Age Sector Platform welcomes this commitment.  Fear of crime featured heavily in the discussions during the province-wide Pensioners Parliaments during the last few months, and was ranked one of the top three concerns for pensioners across every county in Northern Ireland.”



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