You might have heard of a woman or child helpline, but how many of us are familiar with the elders helpline? Considering the lack of awareness about the helpline initiative, the officials of elders helpline 1090 have decided to conduct a massive awareness campaign on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 in the city.
Speaking to City Express, Swathi Pandare from the elders helpline said, “On this occasion, we will conduct street plays on how the helpline can help elders and how other residents can join us or help the campaign in any way. The play revolves around elders who are subjected to abuse and also sheds some light on what kind of help or counselling is available for such senior citizens.”
Besides distributing pamphlets, they will also release a booklet that will have all the information pertaining to the helpline. A study on abuse of India’s elderly, conducted across 20 cities last year (involving over 5,500 older people), has revealed that almost 1 in 3 (32 per cent) have faced abuse. Sons have been found to be primary abusers in 56 per cent of the cases, followed by the daughter-in-law in 23 per cent of the cases.
Needless to say, an awareness campaign is the need of the hour. Majority of cases that have been reported to the helpline involve cheating or harassment by a family member. Since its inception in 2002 till May 2013, 2,311 cases of harassment have been reported.
And, if one goes by the figures revealed by the helpline, the trend is frightening as the number of cases are increasing steadily. From April 2010 to March 2011, 67 cases were reported and from April 2011to March 2012, there were 68 registered cases. Likewise, there were 83 cases reported from April 2012 to March 2013.
In most of the cases, the elders seek arbitration, reconcilement or legal help to fight against harassment. The helpline provides a single toll free number 1090 that senior citizens can call to get all their problems resolved. It is located at the premises of the traffic police station at Shivajinagar bus stand.
The helpline also has maintained a consolidated database for Alzheimer’s patients and helps track down senior citizens who go missing. Established in 2002, the Elders Helpline is a joint venture by the Bangalore City Police and Nightingales Medical Trust. It is a first-of-its-kind service in Bangalore, providing assistance to all senior citizens living within city limits. The helpline propagates Nightingales Medical Trust’s vision of ensuring a life of dignity and security to all elders, by combating harassment and abuse.