Glaring facts on Elder Abuse in India

Elder abuse is not a new phenomenon in India and a study conducted by HelpAge India has now established some facts.

Glaring facts on Elder Abuse in India
Pic courtesy: Thinkstock

New Delhi: Elder abuse is not a new phenomenon in India and a study conducted by HelpAge India has now established some facts.

- Half of the elderly (50%) reportedly experience abuse. 48% males and 53% females reported personal experience of abuse.

- In 2014 the percentage of elders abused went up drastically from 23% in the previous year to 50%.

- Within the Tier I cities surveyed, Delhi ranks the lowest (22%) in terms of elder abuse with Bengaluru at highest (75%). In the Tier II cities Kanpur is lowest (13%) and Nagpur is the highest (85%).

- Verbal Abuse (41%), Disrespect (33%) and Neglect (29%) are ranked as the most common types of abuse experienced by the elderly. These three types of abuse are also the same as cited in previous years and also are in consonance with the general perception among elderly.

- Elders across cities were asked about the abusers within their family. Daughter-in-law (61%) and Son (59%) emerged as the topmost perpetrators. This is a trend that is continuing from the previous years. Not surprisingly, 77% of those surveyed, live with their families.

- Elder victims cite that the primary reasons underlying their abuse are: ‘emotional dependence on the abuser’ (46%), ‘economic dependence on the abuser’ (45%) and ‘changing ethos’ (38%).

- 46% reported facing abuse for 3-5 years, while 25% reported 1-2 years. Sadly, 4% of the elderly reported to be facing abuse for more than 15 years. This year the number of people who are admitting to suffer abuse for 3-5 years has jumped to 46% as against 28% the previous years.

- While abuse has gone up, unfortunately still 41% of those abused, did not report the matter to anyone. “Maintaining confidentiality of the family matter” is cited to be the major reason behind not reporting abuse (59%).

- An interesting observation about the Reasons for Not Reporting abuse, is that in Metro cities there is marked ‘lack of confidence in the any person.

- All elders surveyed seemed most aware of the police helpline at 67%. In the case of victims the awareness level continues to be high at 64% but only 12% approached the police.

-Elder awareness of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 has marginally increased from 11% to 19%. However, still only 14% of the victims are aware of the Act.

- Nationally, the effective mechanisms perceived by all elderly to deal with Elder Abuse include “increasing economic independence of the abused (30%)”, “sensitizing children and strengthening inter-generational bonding (21%)” and “developing Self-Help-Groups of Older Persons to provide assistance and intervention (14%).”

- However many victims both in Tier I & Tier II cities pointed out “Developing an effective legal reporting & redressal system” is an important step for effectively dealing with Elder Abuse.

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