Author: Age Sector Platform
Published on 19 April 2011 12:00 AM
Fear of crime was selected by almost two thirds (64%) of older people across Northern Ireland as a major concern in the recent Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament survey, conducted by Age Sector Platform.
The survey preceded a series of seven Pensioners Parliaments held across Northern Ireland during the last six weeks, through which hundreds of older people made their voice heard.
The startling figure was quoted in the organisation’s response to the community safety strategy ‘Building Safer, Shared and Confident Communities’, in which Age Sector Platform calls for more detail on how the strategy will tackle fear of crime amongst the older population. The statistic has also served to inform one of Age Sector Platform and Age NI’s ‘High 5’ issues which they say must be undertaken by the new Assembly - to tackle fear of crime amongst older people.
Fear of crime was, on average, ranked as one of the top three issues by older people who took part in the survey, with ‘Keeping warm in winter’ and ‘Not enough money’ being the other issues indicating high levels of concern.
Bill Carson, Chair of Age Sector Platform, said: “Although we recognise that crimes against older people are rare, that does not excuse our new Assembly or the new Justice Minister from seriously addressing the issue of fear amongst older people. As we travelled from county to county during the recent Pensioners Parliaments, we were surprised at how big an issue this really was amongst older people. Schemes which can address fear of crime, such as Neighbourhood Watch and Intergenerational programmes, were discussed positively by many older people, and we must ensure these continue to be funded and promoted.”
"Communication was certainly an area which surfaced as one that needs some attention. Although there are many schemes, groups and partnerships in existence that have been set up to tackle crime and fear of crime in local communities, many older people were simply not aware of their existence. The PSNI and Policing and Community Safety Partnerships must work harder to promote their initiatives better and to fully engage with older people in their area.”
Anne O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Age NI, said: “It is clear that fear of crime is a major concern for older people throughout Northern Ireland. Although the likelihood of an older person being the victim of a crime is low, this provides little comfort to our older generation who continue to report high levels of worry about crime. People in later life must ensure they are safe and secure in their own homes, however, we do not want to see them locking themselves out of their community – this will only cause more isolation, loneliness and fear. We are calling on the new Assembly to prioritise older people within the new community safety strategy, to ensure that fear of crime amongst older people becomes a thing of the past.”
"Older people across Northern Ireland have already begun raising issues regarding community safety with candidates on their doorsteps, along with other important issues within our High 5. If you would like more information on the High 5 campaign, including how you can get involved, visit www.electionhigh5.org."