Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Community Response needed to attacks on the elderly

25 January, 2006

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Women and Older People, Pat O'Rawe MLA has said
that much more must be done to address attacks against older people.

Ms O'Rawe said:

"The community is appalled at these attacks on older people across the
north. As a society it is essential that we work together to end these
attacks. The impact particularly in terms of increasing the fear of attack
cannot be underestimated.

"We need a holistic approach that tackles the wider issues of the
marginalisation and poverty and we need to invest in prevention and
protection, in tackling marginalisation through community based initiatives
and education.

"People should not hesitate in bringing forward any information that will
bring the perpetrators to justice.

"Resources to improve home security for older people improves safety and the
sense of security and communications initiatives such as free telephone line
rental can also make people feel safe and less isolated. However, such
measures are not a cure for the problem of attacks on the elderly.

"Turning homes into fortresses is not a long-term solution to the problem of
isolation, alienation or vulnerability. Resources need to support
communities in challenging the violence of those who target our older people
and we need to support older people in taking their part in our communities.
This means addressing issues such as transport and social attitudes.

"It is also clear that education system must have mechanisms for young
people to recognise at an early stage the value and experience of older
people who should have a meaningful role in our education system beyond
visiting schools to share memories from their past, although this may
contribute to the development a new citizenship programme." ENDS

Note to Editors

Summary of Sinn Fein recommendations:
· Extension of resources available for home security provided through Health
and Social Services.
· More resources for community based initiatives that promote social
inclusion e.g. wider roll out of initiatives such as Good Morning Galliagh
and Good Morning Colin.
· Free telephone line rental, free TV licences and examination of potential
of free Internet access

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