Tougher sentences needed for criminals who target elderly

Elderly abuse

Action on Elder Abuse Scotland said a change in law is needed to reduce the amount of older people who are abused every year

3rd September 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has said that those who commit crimes against the elderly must face tougher sentences.

Action on Elder Abuse Scotland has called for targeting of vulnerable people to be made a statutory aggravating offence in law, as it is for racially motivated attack.

A review by Lord Bracadale of hate crime laws in Scotland recommended that age hostility should be considered as an aggravating factor in crimes, and the charity has said this prevents an opportunity to create change.

Director Lesley Carcary said: “I would urge the Scottish Government to take seriously the recommendations in the Bracadale review and bring forward workable legislation that will finally see the calamitous impact of elder abuse on victims recognised in statute.

“Currently, the decision to apply a tougher ­sentence in cases involving older victims is at the discretion of the judge. That’s not good enough.

“What older people and their families need is the reassurance that criminals who prey on them will receive a punishment that fits the crime.

“That must come in the form of a statutory aggravated offence to ensure consistency in our justice ­system.”

The charity is hosting its annual conference in Glasgow today (Monday 3 September) and has highlighted that 100,000 older people in Scotland suffer some sort of abuse every year.

Older People and Equalities Minister Christine McKelvie said: “Our vision of a fairer Scotland is one that values the contribution older people make to our society. As such the Scottish Government will do everything in its power to support their rights and interests.

“Lord Bracadale recognised that older people can be targeted by perpetrators because of a perception that they are more vulnerable and so he recommended that the Scottish Government consider the introduction of a general aggravation concerning exploitation of vulnerability.

“We will consult later this year on that and other ­recommendations in Lord Bracadale’s report.”