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Key Statistics - Crime, Safety and Abuse

Page history last edited by Ciarán Holahan 15 years, 7 months ago

This section is currently under development.

This section contains statistics on Crime, Safety and Abuse as it relates to older people.




1.     Crime


     1.1    Crime victimisation rates, 2006

     1.2    Perceptions of crime in Ireland, 2006

     1.3    Perceptions of safety of persons, 2006


2.     Elder Abuse



1. Crime



1.1     Crime victimisation rates, 2006

% of sex/age group                  

  Males Males Females
Type of crime 18 - 64 65 & over 18 - 64 65 & over
Theft without violence 3.1 1.1 2.5 1.1 
Theft with violence 1.6 0.7 0.9 0.5

Physical assault

(excludes attacks of a sexual

nature and domestic violence).

2.0 0.2 0.6 0.0

Source: Table 5.5 Ageing in Ireland 2007 / CSO QNHS Crime and Victimisation Module


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1.2     Ireland: Perceptions of crime in Ireland, 2006


% of age group                  

Perception 18-64 65 & over
All persons
Very serious problem
42.9 63.0 45.9
Serious problem 36.1 28.3 34.9
Fairly serious problem 17.6 8.0 16.2
Not a serious problem 3.1 0.5 2.7
Not a problem
0.3 0.1 0.3
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Table 5.6 Ageing in Ireland 2007 / CSO QNHS Crime and Victimisation Module


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1.3     Ireland: Perceptions of safety of persons, 2006


% of age group                  

  Walking alone in neighbourhood after dark Alone in home after dark
Level of safety felt
18 - 64 65 & over 18 - 64 65 & over
Very safe
26.6 13.1 43.4 27.6
Safe 50.3 41.7 51.2 60.7
Unsafe 19.4 32.8 4.9 9.7
Very unsafe 3.7 12.4 0.5 2.0
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Table 5.7 Ageing in Ireland 2007 / CSO QNHS Crime and Victimisation Module



For both men and women aged 65 & over, theft without violence had the highest victimisation rates of 1.1% in 2006.


In 2006, 63% of persons aged 65 & over felt that there was a “very serious problem" of crime in Ireland, compared to 42.9% of persons aged 18-64.


Although persons aged 65 & over had a stronger perception that crime was a "very serious problem", only a very small percentage of that age group were victims of crime.


In 2006, 54.8% of persons aged 65 & over felt “very safe” or “safe” walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark. Of the same group, 88.3% felt “very safe” or “safe” alone in their home after dark (see Table 5.7 and Graph).


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2.     Elder Abuse


"We do not know the prevalence of elder abuse in Ireland but it does happen, and is likely to occur to the same extent as it has in other developed countries: studies show that about three to five per cent of older people living in the community suffer abuse at any one time. This means that in Ireland between 12,000 and 20,000 people living in the community may be suffering from abuse, neglect and/or maltreatment (O’Loughlin and Duggan, 1998). It is important to note that these figures underestimate the size of the problem since wehave no figures on the incidence of abuse in institutions, where it also happens. "

Source:  'Protecting Our Future', Report of the Working Group on Elder Abuse (September 2002)


"Calls relating to elder abuse are on the rise, as are calls from older people contemplating suicide. Many older people also experience loneliness. You can live in the heart of a city surrounded by people and still feel alone", explained the helpline's coordinator, Mary Nally.A breakdown of the figures reveal that: 


  • 51% of calls are about loneliness.
  • 26% are about elder abuse, which can include financial issues, abuse and neglect.
  • 12% are from people seeking information, including rights and entitlements.
  • 8% relate to health worries.
  • 3% are due to bereavement.

Almost 70% of callers are aged between 50 and 75. Calls are also received from people concerned about older relatives and friends."

Source: IrishHealth.com, '30% rise in calls to senior helpline' (23 January 2006)


"By the end of 2007 there were 26 officers in place to help identify and stop the abuse of elderly people. There were 927 referrals to the officers and gardai were consulted in relation to 10% of the cases."

Source: HSE's Annual Report and Financial Statements 2007


"Over 20,000 older people could be the victims of abuse according to Dr Michael Boland of the IrishCollege of General Practitioners (ICGP) based on extrapolating WHO figures."

Source: IrishHealth.com, 'Elder abuse figure could be 20,000' (19 November 2007)


“It is interesting to note that while 92% of alleged abusers investigated in 2007 were family members, just 16% of the cases were referred to elder abuse officers by family members,” Mr Timmins said.  “This would seem to suggest that other family members know or suspect that the abuse is occurring, but fail to do anything about it.”

Source: Press Release from Age Action,  "HSE figures highlight the extent of elder abuse in Ireland" (30 January 2008)


"Elder abuse includes physical, sexual, emotional/psychological abuse, neglect, financial/material manipulation and discrimination. While it can occur anywhere, early analysis of alleged elder abuse received by the HSE in 2007 indicates that most abuse occurs in the home by family members:


  • 85% occurs in the home
  • 3% in an acute hospital setting
  • 4% in private nursing homes
  • 4% in relative’s homes
  • 3% in public continuing care units
  • 1% in boarding/lodging facilities.
  • 82% is carried out by family members."


Source: VHI.ie,  '85% of Elder Abuse Occurs in the Home' (18 June 2008)


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