This article provides the first comprehensive examination of the phenomenon of unequal access to procedural justice for older victims of crime. It analyses quantitative and qualitative data exploring the interactions of older people with the criminal justice system of Northern Ireland. It identifies that older victims of crime are less likely to have a successful crime outcome (known as ‘detection’ or ‘clear-up’ in other jurisdictions) to their case when compared to other adults. The results provide evidence of a system failing to adequately take into account additional vulnerabilities that disproportionately impact on older victims’ ability to engage with the justice process. There is an analysis of the relationships between vulnerability, resilience and access to justice. The current conceptual understanding of vulnerability as applied to older people within the justice system is challenged. The findings are relevant for researchers and policy-makers in the United Kingdom, Ireland and further afield concerned with the treatment of older and vulnerable victims by the justice system.
- Older people