Call us today on 0141 552 9193
GLP News

News, Comment & Opinions on the latest legal stories

Glasgow Law Practice White

Practice made perfect

New prosecution policy for crimes involving the old

Scottish prosecutors have been issued with new guidance, setting out how the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) will deal with crimes against older people who are victims or witnesses of crime.

The growth of the older population in the United Kingdom and the significant negative impact that being a victim of crime, or a witness of crime, can have on older people’s health and sense of wellbeing, are two of the reasons behind the move.

There is no statutory definition of a crime against an older person, and no general statutory offence of neglect of an older person. Older people can be targeted because of their perceived or actual vulnerability or, their unequal access to safety. Crimes against older people can take place in the context of sexual, physical or financial abuse, neglect and mistreatment where they live, whether this is in a care home, their own home or hospital.

The types of crime which can be experienced by older people and which will be dealt with under the ambit of the new policy include:

  • Criminal abuse or neglect of older people where there is a relationship and an expectation of trust. This can include family members, friends, case workers, volunteers etc.
  • Crimes that are specifically targeted at older people because they are perceived as vulnerable or potentially easy to steal from.
  • Crimes against older people that are not necessarily related to age but may later become so, e.g. housebreaking where, although the age of the householder is not known at the outset, the situation is exploited when the housebreaker discovers that the householder is an older person.
  • Crimes against older people which are in part or wholly motivated by hostility based on age, or perceived age, or vulnerability crimes.

The key consideration for prosecutors will be where a crime is aggravated by the fact that it has taken place in the context of the victim being targeted because of vulnerability or perceived vulnerability on the basis of their age or perceived age. The new policy advocates a strong presumption in favour of prosecution where the crime is committed against an older person.

Contact our Lawyers

If you have been charged with a crime against an older person, our solicitors, based in Glasgow, can advise on your criminal defence. Complete our online enquiry form here or come in to see us at one of our offices.