Elderly in Delhi demand more security

Elderly persons in the national capital say they want more security, keeping in view the instances of crime, violence, abuse and neglect against them.

Updated: Jun 15, 2011, 15:45 PM IST

New Delhi: Elderly persons in the
national capital say they want more security, keeping in view
the instances of crime, violence, abuse and neglect against
them.

"Nowadays the number of senior citizens living alone
is rising and the rate of crime against them is also
increasing.
We want more security from the police," said S L
Passi, president, Delhi Federation of Association of Senior
Citizens.

Passi was participating in a symposium organised by
the NGO International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse
(INPEA) to mark the 6th edition of the World Elder Abuse
Awareness Day (WEAAD) observed across the world on June 15.

"The police remain pre-occupied with activities like
protecting the VIPs. They need to consider us as a priority
too," said Passi speaking at the symposium `Safety and
Security of Senior citizens: Making it a Priority` organised
here late yesterday.

Gerontologist and the Asia Chairperson of INPEA, Mala
Kapur Shankardass, said "Observance of WEAAD brings
recognition to elder abuse in public and human rights issues,
which need to be addressed by individuals, families,
communities and governments.

"Passi also suggested that elders staying in houses
that do not have lifts need to be modulated. DDA should change
the housing policy according to age of the person. An 80 year
old cannot live on 4th floor of house which does not have a
lift," he added urging for a radical change in the society.

Joint Police Commissioner, Crime Branch and in charge
of senior citizens Sandeep Goel said, "The security of VIPs is
a part of our various duties. But we do not neglect the main
duty of the police, that is policing criminal activities and
protecting civilians."

Goel also pointed out that disintegration of the joint
family system and migration of younger generation for job
opportunities as primary reasons for elders being exploited by
family and children.
Goel, who was accompanied by his team of officials who
man the Senior Citizens cell pointed out that they had taken
various steps to ensure security of senior citizens.

"We have computerized collation and classification of
information related to senior citizens, daily feedback and
call monitoring, personal visits by staff and interaction with
them."

He also highlighted the need to make NGOs, SPOs,
volunteers, RWAs and senior citizen associations as active
partners with the police cell.

According to the records, Delhi police has only
registered 11,655 senior citizens, mainly those who are living
alone or with spouse.

In his presentation Goel pointed out that the number
of cases of murder of senior citizens registered in 2010 was
put at 19 and in 2011 it was put at 8. The number of robbery
cases of senior citizens registered in 2011 is 2 as compared
to 5 in 2010. Out of the 311 cases registered by senior
citizens, 175 were family disputes in the past one year.

"We need to bring our traditions and culture back to
our family system and then there will be no complaining about
elder abuse. We have to change the attitude of our children
first, educate and spend time with them and then we would not
have to ask them to take care of us when we get old" said
Amarjit Singh Chandhiok, Additional Solicitor General &
President, Delhi High Court Bar Association.

Singh advocated for free legal aid for senior
citizens, who cannot afford it.

Earlier, a survey carried out by Help Age India in 9
cities - Delhi and NCR, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bhopal,
Chennai, Patna, Hyderabad and Banalore with with a sample size
of 900, in both lower and higher economic strata revealed that
more than half of elderly felt that senior citizens are soft
targets for criminal acts.
The survey "Elder Abuse and Crime in India" reported
that among the major types of crime faced by the elderly, as
reported were burglary, molestations and criminal acts with
less than one tenth (8 per cent) reporting intimidation.

And, also only one third (37 per cent ) were willing
to take concrete action for crime said the report which
further points out that unwillingness to take any concrete
action stems from "being scared of facing further crime" and
"no concrete action."

Joint Commissioner of Police S Nithyanandam advocated
for a security audit of senior citizens by SHOs and installing
security systems at home as a part of taking preventive
measures. "Relationship with neighbours must be enhanced to
create a more aware neighbourhood," he said.

"As per the latest report on registered senior
citizens, only 11,655 have been registered with the police in
Delhi" added Nithyanandam.

PTI