The research outlined below is part of a larger project examining significant forms of harm that can affect the elderly in Northern Ireland. These can be physical (falls, accidents, injuries), financial (income poverty, fuel poverty) or psychological (fear of crime). Figures show that these types of harm occur at a higher rate than crime, and are often much more detrimental. Also, it is argued that, by maintaining focus on crime, emphasis will remain on crime reduction strategies, increased spending in the police service, and policies of social control, resources which could be relocated to fulfilling the government’s responsibility towards older people through improved public polices and health care. The proposed NILS study examines the physical harms suffered by the elderly – specifically mortality due to falls, accidents, poisoning etc. The NILS allows analysis of the socio-demographic circumstances (such as age, gender, marital status etc) and socio-economic circumstances (e.g. education, social class, deprivation etc) associated with mortality in the elderly.
Machniewski, S. Social Harm and Older People in Northern Ireland. School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast. September 2009.