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Sep 2, 2014

National Council on Ageing Issues Statement on Violence Against the Elderly

Via Phone: Lindy Jeffrey

In the recent months, several elderly persons have been victims of violent crimes. Back on July thirtieth, Betty Westby as well as her mother were victims of a frightening home invasion in Crooked Tree where Westby had to fight off the armed intruders. That was immediately followed by yet another home invasion on August eighteenth in Hopkins Village that turned ugly. Dudley Augustine’s wife, Josephine, was hacked to death right in front of him. Sunday’s murder of Agripina Coc in San Pedro Columbia in the south is yet another case. Today, the National Council on Ageing says that it is appalled at the increasing number of elderly persons being targeted as victims of senseless crimes. The organization in its release says that Coc, (Quote) “because of her age maybe her concern was not taken as seriously as it should have been.” (Unquote) According to Executive Director of the N.C.A., Lindy Jeffrey, elderly persons are more vulnerable to attacks so that greater attention must be paid to older persons in communities.

 

Via Phone: Lindy Jeffrey, Executive Director, National Council of Ageing

“The main concern is that with older people, it’s their vulnerability and they are easily taken advantage of in many respects. We are concerned, but we sent the press release mainly because of Misses Agripina Coc in San Pedro Columbia because she had already raised her concern about being stalked. And to us, we are wondering why nothing happened about that, why nobody took any notice of her really. Another thing is when older people understand that they might be vulnerable and in danger, then the authorities really need to take more notice of them. They need to take them seriously. Sometimes because of their age, maybe they [the authorities] feel that they are not correct. We feel that they are very vulnerable. I think older people need to be more vigilant and more weary of their own safety. But also when in a small community like San Pedro Columbia, then people in the community need to be aware as well. People in any community, when they know that there are older people around; they need to keep an eye on them. I think we’ve been stressing this for quite some time in any community that it is no good reacting afterwards and saying how bad it is. There is a time when something can be done, when the community can keep an eye open and look after older people. This is what helps, things can be prevented. But also the authorities themselves; they say were contacted about this, then they should have taken it serious, they should have acted on it. You find elderly persons everywhere and people in the community need to know where they are, what their situation is and in some way if they can help them, please do so. It is to their interest. Sometimes they are lonely and have been abandoned. And maybe just somebody just calling in and saying, “Hi, how are you?” does wonders. But also family members have a responsibility too to keep an eye on older people. Like I said in the press release, don’t let older people go out at night in the dark on their own; make sure someone goes with them. And also for older people not to let people into their homes if they don’t know who they are. Older people generally can be very trusting you know. They like people, but they need to be weary as well.”

 

This afternoon, HelpAge Belize also requested that the relevant crime fighting authorities place the protection of all Belizeans, particularly our most vulnerable group, the elderly citizens, as a top priority. HelpAge says elderly citizens are e-ven more dependent for care and security and have a right to be protected from all forms of violence and abuse as well as from all forms of discrimination.

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