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Safe and secure environment for older Australians

Media Release

20 August 2003

Media release from Senator, the Hon. Chris Ellison, Minister for Justice and Customs; and the Hon. Kevin Andrews MP, Minister for Ageing

Older Australians can be more fearful of crime despite facing lower risks of being victims of personal or household crime, according to an Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) report released today by the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, and the Minister for Ageing, Kevin Andrews.

The AIC report, A Safe and Secure Environment for Older Australians, which was commissioned by the Department of Health and Ageing, outlines the needs of Australia's ageing population in relation to their safety and wellbeing.

"About 2.4 million Australians, or 12.5 per cent of the population, are over 65 and that will increase to about 25 per cent of the population by 2050," Mr Andrews said.

"Research has consistently shown that while this group is less likely to be the victims of crime, they are more likely to fear crime.

"A Safe and Secure Environment for Older Australians suggests ways that all levels of government, and the community, can help reduce crime and older Australians' fear of crime."

Senator Ellison said the most common crimes against older people were financial exploitation or fraud, which posed a far greater threat than assault, theft or robbery.

"The Australian Government, through the National Crime Prevention program, has already developed the booklet Crime Prevention for Seniors: A Guide to Personal and Financial Safety to provide practical measures to help older Australians secure their physical and financial wellbeing," Senator Ellison said.

"The Government is strongly committed to helping older Australians feel more safe and secure. We also support the report's finding that creating safer communities for older people while reducing their fear of crime is the priority."

Encouraging older people to be physically and socially active will help reduce their fear of crime and contribute to healthy ageing.

The report found that local government organisations were best placed to deliver these initiatives with help from Commonwealth and State/Territory agencies responsible for addressing crime reduction and fear of crime.

Related report: Crime prevention for seniors : a guide to personal and financial safety