In fact, of the one million cases of abuse against the elderly, only 0.3% result in successful criminal convictions. In 2016-17, there was a decrease in police referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service for crimes against older people compared to a year earlier, They were down from 3,568 to 3,467 and resulted in 2,783 suspects being charged.
According to a report in the 'Express', in 2007 twenty-six police forces in England and Wales recorded 7,379 violent assaults on over-65-year-olds. In 2016 the attacks rose to 20,921 and in 2017 they rose again to 26,474 : an increase of 258% on the figures recorded 10 years earlier.
“Hate crime goes directly against the longstanding British values of unity, tolerance and mutual respect, and I am committed to stamping this sickening behaviour out. Our refreshed action plan sets out how we will tackle the root causes of prejudice and racism, support hate crime victims and ensure offenders face the full force of the law.”
Gary FitzGerald, Chief Executive of the charity 'Action on Elder Abuse', said : "For far too long we have seen older people routinely neglected and abused across the UK with no end in sight. The systems designed to protect seem incapable of doing so and the law fails to deliver justice for the victims."
He also said that Britain "now has an opportunity to join other countries including the US, Japan and Israel by making elder abuse a crime, with the sorts of punishments that the public expects. We must make it clear that we as a society will not tolerate these cowardly acts against some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
The question remains : Whether labelling crimes against old men and women as 'hate crimes' really act as a deterrent to the criminals who abuse and prey on them ?