Northern Ireland

Care homes: More than 70 sex attacks in NI homes reported in three years

Elderly woman with walking stick
Image caption The majority of the care, nursing and residential homes involved look after people aged over 65.

More than 70 alleged sex offences in NI adult care, nursing and residential homes have been reported to the PSNI over the last three years, the BBC can reveal.

The majority of the crimes reported were physical sex assaults, including eight several alleged rapes.

Most of these homes look after people aged 65 and over.

The figures were obtained after the BBC submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requests to all UK police forces.

Perpetrators

About 80% of forces replied and the figures show there were more than 2,000 reported sex crimes in UK care homes.

Some of the suspected victims lacked mental capacity and had dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

The data does not identify the alleged perpetrators but experts say they can be care home employees or other residents.

There are more than 450 nursing and residential homes in Northern Ireland, providing places for up to 16,000 elderly people.

Linda Robinson, chief executive of Age NI, told Good Morning Ulster it was important that "people feel safe to report" cases of abuse.

"It is 70 people too many that have been the subject of abuse," she said.

"The other side of that coin is there are 70 people who have been courageous and come forward, their families have come forward.

"There has been a process put in place to keep those individuals safe. We need to enable people to be able to report safely in their own environment."

You can hear more on File on 4: The Last Taboo on BBC Radio 4 at 20:00 BST on Tuesday.

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