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15th June 2015

Older people's rights: Older People's Commissioner calls for tougher penalties for abuse and neglect

The Older People's Commissioner for Wales has called for tougher punishments for those who neglect, abuse or commit crimes against older people.

Only 1% of crimes against older people led to convictions compared to 19% for all crime, the Commissioner said.

Speaking on Elder Awareness Day today (June 15), Sarah Rochira said: "As it stands, the law simply does not offer sufficient protection for older people who are the victims of substandard care, abuse or neglect, nor does it provide a suitable deterrent to those who deliver substandard care or to those who abuse or neglect older people.

"This is something that needs to change urgently," she said.

She added: "The shockingly low prosecution and conviction rates for crimes against older people tell us that either the evidential test currently used by the Crown Prosecution Service is not fit for purpose, that there is a lack of willingness to prosecute for crimes against older people or that the law itself is not sufficient.

"A person's age cannot be allowed to be a defining factor in whether or not they have the support and protection of the justice system and the clear inequality that currently exists within this system must be addressed as a matter of priority."

Ms Rochira added that it should be easier to prosecute people such as health and social care providers.

The Ministry of Justice said those who abuse vulnerable elderly people "deserve tough punishments".

Older People's Commissioner: Legal system 'failing' older people

Read more on this news story.

BBC Wales: Legal system 'failing' older people, says Commissioner

ITV News: Commissioner warns: Legal system failing older people

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