Senior Times

Maeve Ryan  from the Crime Victims Helpline advises how you can ‘ring fence’ your property

The following example of a helpline call illustrates how our service may benefit callers - the name of the caller, and details of the case have been changed, to protect confidentiality.

Call: Betty is in her mid-sixties and lives alone in an isolated rural area.  Recently there have been a number of burglaries in the area and Betty who has lived in the area for most of her life is feeling nervous.  She contacts CVH because she is worried about a possible break-in to her house.  When she talks with our volunteer she also says that her husband died six months previously, and she feels quite alone.

Our response:  our volunteer listens to all of Betty’s concerns, and can understand her feelings of insecurity and fear.  First we suggest to Betty to get in contact with the Crime Prevention Officer for her area, who will visit her house and advise her on any changes or improvements she can make to give her some security.  We provide Betty with the name and contact telephone number for the Crime Prevention Officer and offer to make contact with him/her on Betty’s behalf, if that is easier for her.

We also give Betty information about the home safety alarms which are available at low cost for people aged 65 and over, and which usually provide a sense of safety to people who use them.  By simply pressing a button on a pendant or bracelet which you wear, you can access an immediate response in any emergency through a centralised telephone system.  Betty has not had any information about this, and we provide her with information and contact details of the provider.

We give Betty an opportunity to talk about her husband, and how his loss is affecting her.  We offer information on a local service which provides bereavement counselling, if Betty feels that this would be of any benefit to her.   We also offer to find out if there is any service in her area which offers a daily or a regular call to older people, to alleviate feelings of loneliness or isolation.  And we inform Betty about the Senior Helpline, which she can call every day simply to have a chat.  With Betty’s consent we send her information leaflets on the various services suggested.   Betty chats with us about the supports that she has in her life, such as friends, neighbours, family members, and social activities that she participates in.

Finally we affirm Betty for her self-care in taking the step of contacting our Helpline today.  We ask Betty if she would like us to call her back in a few days to see how she is, and to follow up if necessary on any of the suggestions made.  Betty says she would really appreciate a call, that she will be out of the house over the next few days, but that she will be at home on the following Friday.  We arrange to call her on Friday and see how she is getting on.

If you have been a victim of crime, or affected by crime, please feel free to contact our helpline.
CRIME VICTIMS HELPLINE  -  FREE PHONE 116 006 -  is a national Helpline that provides support and information to victims of crime. Trained volunteers provide a listening service and emotional support; information on local and specialist services for victims of crime; liaison with Gardaí and various services if requested; and information on the criminal justice system.

Text: 085 1337711

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