Reported by The Courier – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.
Police chiefs are against creating a new age-based offence for elder abuse.
MSPs are assessing calls from charities to make targeting older people a standalone hate crime.
But Police Scotland has urged Holyrood to back away from establishing the new aggravating category, which supporters say could lead to tougher sentences.
In a submission to the Scottish Parliament, the force argued that most of the crimes against the elderly are committed because they are vulnerable, rather than out of age hostility.
Police said: “It is this element that Police Scotland fully supports as opposed to an aggravator for elder abuse.
“Having in place a process that allows the courts to consider if a crime has been committed against a person based on the frailty and vulnerability of a victim will ensure a greater percentage of our vulnerable communities would be protected as opposed to simply being based on a person’s age.”
Age Scotland and Prosecution of Elder Abuse are among the organisations wanting to see a specific statutory offence for criminals targeting older victims.
Writing to MSPs, the Prosecution of Elder Abuse said they are “concerned that the current criminal justice system does not provide the flexibility to take appropriate account of the unique nature and dynamics of elder abuse, and the impact on the victim.
“We strongly advocate the introduction of a new specific offence of ‘elder abuse’ as a means of addressing the flaws in the current criminal justice system,” the submission said.