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Every Second Senior Citizen Faces Abuse: Study

Every second person above the age of 60 in the country has experienced at least one form of abuse or the other and worse, 60 per cent of perpetrators are either sons or daughters-in-law or both, says a nation-wide study by HelpAge India, an NGO working for the welfare of the elderly

Published: 14th June 2014 07:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th June 2014 07:32 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Every second person above the age of 60 in the country has experienced at least one form of abuse or the other and worse, 60 per cent of perpetrators are either sons or daughters-in-law or both, says a nation-wide study by HelpAge India, an NGO working for the welfare of the elderly.

Released on Friday, the study with a sample of 100 people each in 12 cities across 10 states in the country, reveals that the number of elders admitting to being abused has risen significantly with almost 60 per cent reporting cases of abuse to a family member, friend, social worker or the police.

The survey shows that the commonly held notion of the mother-in-law-daughter-in-law divide might well be true with  a whopping 60 per cent of all abuses perpetrated by sons and their spouses. Amongst the Tier I cities, Mumbai rates daughters-in-law as the main culprits at 92 per cent, while Hyderabad rates them at a lowest of 40 per cent. Not surprisingly, 77 per cent of those surveyed live with their families.

Of the elderly who faced ill-treatment, 35 per cent reported that they were abused at least once a week, 20 per cent  once a month and 17 per cent almost daily.

According to the victims across the cities, ‘Emotional dependence on the abuser’ (46%) and ‘Economic dependence on the abuser’ (45%) were cited as the major reasons for abuse.

The report reveals that the elderly women are facing abuse due to dependence on others, both economic and emotional, whereas the men face ill-treated primarily due to ‘emotional dependence and changing ethos’ in society. The report goes on to infer that men do not face economic dependence to the extent of women.

Among those who experienced abuse, 41 per cent did not report it to anyone. Reporting of abuse is highest in Mangalore (88 per cent) and lowest in Kolkata (12 per cent). This year saw a substantial increase in the percentage of abuse from 23 to 50 per cent.

The majority of the abused elderly seemed to rate family honour higher than their own welfare with 59 per cent admitting that there was a need to maintain confidentiality’. A new finding shows that fear of retaliation was a reason for non-reporting of abuse in 3 out of 6 Tier II cities.  More: City express



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