Charity calls for action on crimes against the elderly

Elderly crimes

Action on Elder Abuse Scotland has called for the Scottish Government to introduce specific sentencing guidelines for crimes against older people

4th September 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has reiterated its calls for crimes against the elderly to be treated as hate crimes.

Action on Elder Abuse Scotland has called for the Scottish Government to introduce specific sentencing guidelines for criminals who target older people.

New hate crime legislation is being examined by the Scottish Government, and the charity has said stronger deterrents are needed to protect older people from criminals.

Ahead of the Action on Elder Abuse Scotland's annual conference, which is due to feature a keynote speech by Community Safety Minister Ash Denham, the charity has argued that the government should adopt recommendations made by Lord Bracadale's report last year.

Lord Bracadale's suggestions would make offences motivated by the victim's vulnerability a statutory aggravating factor, as well as offenders being convicted of a hate crime if deliberately targeting elderly people.

The charity’s director Lesley Carcary said many crimes against older people go unreported.

She said: "Many are terrified of what might happen if they do speak up, and when they do, they fear they won't be believed, even by their own family.

"Crimes against children and even animals rightly disgust us all - and often receive the strongest of punishments - but with abuse of older people, it's a very different story.

"We need to change attitudes so that elder abuse is seen as completely socially unacceptable too - and stronger legal deterrents have a big role to play.

"We need a criminal justice system which takes proper account of the devastating impact crime and abuse has on older people.

"Scotland has the opportunity to lead the UK by becoming the first nation to make abuse of vulnerable people a statutory aggravating offence in law.

"We appreciate the attention given to this issue by the Justice Secretary already and want to see progress continuing through to real change."