I have just returned home from the Otley Arms where I watched Wales put on an exciting second half performance to steal the match from Scotland. An event during the match got me thinking about the rights of the elderly and victims of crime.
During the game an elderly woman went up to this man called James, the same man who two years earlier felt it appropriate to call me a ‘retard’ because I’m not a great conversationalist. She casually said to him ‘My family are part Scottish and part Welsh, I’m hoping for a draw as we’ve got to support all Celts’. She is quite frail and had to get up off her chair to speak to him, and all he did was stand up and walk away closer to the television!
This disgusted me, the way an elder in the community can be shoved to one side and treated like they do not matter. This has been getting to me a lot recently, as I felt my late grandmother had been silenced by those supposed to be caring for her when she was in hospital because they didn’t want to deal with the realities of her condition.
Similarly people who have become victims of crime are expected to ‘get over it’ and ‘move on’, and many other phrases that mean the same thing as ‘shut up’.
I would like to see the remit of and finance for Victim Support and Help the Aged expanded so that they are on a non-for-profit basis able to provide support to their target groups in the form of ‘individual time and attention.’
Someone who has been the victim of a crime is more likely to go on and commit a crime themselves. Vulnerable adults, such as some elderly people, are more likely to be victims of crime than anyone else. Elderly people are the only group in society who can go days without seeing anyone without anyone knowing.
Victims of crime and elderly people, through the groups above, should have a statutory right to individual time and attention. Whether this in in the form of a befriending scheme, where a volunteer will go and speak to an elderly person on a regular basis to stimulate them socially and mentally, or alternative therapies, where a victim of crime will be given counseling or massage sessions that allow them to build trust in another person, I think it is essential we tackle the problem of a large section of society feeling vulnerable, alone and unwanted.