BANGALORE: Once known as a pensioners’ paradise, Bangalore now abuses its elders more than any other city in the country, according to a HelpAge India survey released on Friday.
The Elder Abuse Study 2014 found that 75 per cent of the elders surveyed in Bangalore reported personal abuse, the highest among Tier 1 cities.
Verbal abuse, disrespect and neglect are the most prevalent forms of abuse faced by elders, and in that order. Among the big cities, Delhi is the lightest offender, with just 22 per cent of elders complaining of abuse.
Among Tier 2 cities, Nagpur tops the list, with 85 per cent of the survey respondents complaining of abuse.
“When we did the survey two years ago, Bangalore was ranked seventh. It is shocking that Bangalore is ranked first in this disturbing finding,” said Rekha Murthy, deputy director and state head of HelpAge India.
The survey was released by City Police Commissioner Raghavendra H Auradkar to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
It covers 12 cities across eight states and surveyed 1,200 elders with the objective of determining the extent of abuse and finding measures to deal with it.
“Our financial dependence on our son and daughter-in-law has turned us into their slaves,” said 68-year-old Ramanna (name changed), who has faced years of abuse since he moved in with his son.
He was once a flower vendor with his own income, but now can’t work because of age-related problems.
Of the elders surveyed in Bangalore, 85 per cent live with their families. Shockingly, 65 per cent of them named their sons as the perpetrators of the abuse, followed by 45 per cent who said it was the daughter-in-law who abused them.
About 55 per cent of elders in the city said economic dependence, followed by “changing ethos,” was the reason for the abuse.
The presence of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act of 2007 is known to just 8 per cent of those surveyed, but 68 per cent are aware of the police helpline (1090).
About 73 per cent of elders in Mangalore, too, said they faced abuse.
“This is a bitter truth that reflects the deterioration in our culture that expects us to treat our parents as Gods,” Auradkar said.
“There is a provision under the law to take stringent action, but we know from experience that elders don’t want their kin to face such consequences.”
Call 1090 for HELP
The helpline for elders, now functioning from the commissioner’s office, covers Basavangudi and Malleswaram divisions. “We plan to extend it to the remaining five divisions. The West division will be covered in the next 15-20 days,” Police Commisisoner Raghavendra Auradkar said.