Policy Executive, Gillian Mawdsley, was delighted to attend and participate at the Action on Elder Abuse Scotland 2019 National Conference on behalf of the Law Society of Scotland by running a workshop on how the Scottish legal system should protect older people.
The theme was Aging in Scotland: Justice, Injustice and Protection - how can we continue to make Scotland a just and safe place for older people?
We fully endorse the call for change in supporting older people within the justice system. Our members, Solicitors for Older People Scotland, were present and are involved in the civil law field to support older people by providing a range of legal services such as conveyancing, wills trust and executries. However, the work of the Society goes further, including work on the vulnerable accused person. The older person is not exempt from needing protection if appearing in court – be it as a victim, witness or accused.
We believe that the rights and needs of older people do need to be specifically considered to enable better a fair and effective justice system.
We do not believe that the solution lies in legislation, as there is a raft of criminal charges which may apply where the circumstances permit, and criminal prosecution is appropriate. Seeking to strengthen these offences is important and we look forward to responding when the Hate Crime Bill recently announced by the Scottish Government is published.
We would stress that raising organisational and individual awareness that values equality is of high importance. The solution must reflect societal concerns with the increasing aging demographic of the Scottish population to ensure effective protection of older people.