In Northern Ireland we have laws designed to protect children from abuse and animals from cruelty – and that is right. However, in the 21st century with a rapidly ageing population we are the only part of the United Kingdom without dedicated legislation to protect vulnerable older people from abuse, harm and exploitation.
Hourglass Northern Ireland believes that our older people deserve the same protection in law and should not be subject to a postcode lottery of protection. That is why we are seeking an Adult Safeguarding Bill for Northern Ireland. There is a lot of work to do, but we will embrace that challenge in a proactive and collaborative way.
Hourglass Northern Ireland commits to bringing about real and positive change for older people at risk of abuse, or those who are currently subject to acts of violence, cruelty, sexual assault, neglect and theft. With more than 25 years’ experience and expertise, our mission is to listen, advise and support vulnerable older people and all those affected throughout the UK.
We want to shed light on the nature and extent of abuse and to work with all partners to call time on the harm, abuse and exploitation of older people here in Northern Ireland and across the United Kingdom.
Our job as Hourglass Northern Ireland, and my role as Deputy Chief Executive, is to demonstrate how each of us can make a difference, and inspire our communities to embrace the safer ageing agenda and work to ending the abuse of older people.
To do that, we need brave leadership at all levels and support and encouragement from our government, funders and the public. Hourglass Northern Ireland aims to be part of a resilient, provocative sector here that can help drive positive change for many years to come. The challenge starts here.