Crimes Against the Elderly: A Lawyer's Personal Experience

31/01/2013

Lawyers regularly read victims statements and present them to a court to ensure the judge, jury or magistrates understand the impact on the victim. But this impact is brought home when a lawyer’s relative becomes the victim.

District Crown Prosecutor James Scott explains the impact of a crime on him and his family and the support the CPS can offer:

"I've always been acutely aware of the sensitivities felt by vulnerable victims but this was brought home to me when a close relative became a victim herself and expressed the same feelings I read out in court from others.
 
"She was a widow and was at home alone when someone sneaked in and took her handbag from the kitchen. She didn't know it had gone until the next time she was looking for it.

"When the bag was found a few days later she threw it away. She felt violated and distressed. This was some years ago but I remember it as if it was yesterday.

"I, along with the wider CPS, understand the serious nature of crimes against older people. Safety and security, and the right to live free from the fear of crime, are fundamental human rights and go to the core of older peoples priorities. Feeling and being unsafe, or 'at risk', have significant negative impacts on older peoples health and sense of well-being and can leave them isolated and unable to participate socially and economically in their communities.

"I saw the impact this crime had on my relative and know first hand how damaging this can be.

"Such cases will be prosecuted vigorously wherever the evidence is available. We will work hard with the police and other agencies to ensure every possible support is given to enable older victims to assist in a prosecution and whenever a case goes to court we will argue that the fact that the suspect preyed on an older person due to their perceived age or visible frailty is an aggravating element to the crime, and one that should be reflected in the sentence."