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Author: BBC News - www.bbc.co.uk/news
Published on 19 April 2011 06:30 AM

Fear of crime is of major concern to older people in Northern Ireland, a new survey suggests.

Almost two thirds (64%) of those questioned highlighted their fear in the NI Pensioners' Parliament survey, conducted by Age Sector Platform.

They also worried about keeping warm in winter and not having enough money.

The survey was conducted ahead of a series of seven Pensioners Parliaments which took place across NI over the last six weeks.

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."

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.

"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."

The findings are contained 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.

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575