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Updated: June 15, 2013 13:48 IST

Daughters-in-law abuse elderly more, says HelpAge India study

Special Correspondent
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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day today

Daughters-in-law are the worst abusers of the elderly in homes in Thiruvananthapuram, a study conducted by HelpAge India says.

The study, covering 24 cities including the Kerala capital, released here on Friday, says that daughters-in-law constituted 44 per cent of the abusers, followed by daughters (32 per cent) and sons (24 per cent). The study was released to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Saturday.

The report says that the elders’ perception of abuse constituted neglect (38 per cent), economic exploitation (27 per cent), and disrespect (35 per cent). Among the abused, 24 per cent made an attempt to report it, their first choice being a community leader. Their second choice was the local police and the third choice relatives, friends, and NGOs.

Those who did not report abuse did so in order to maintain confidentiality of family matters; ignorance about the best way to deal with the problem; or lack of confidence in the ability of the person or agency.

Twenty two per cent of those surveyed reported experiencing abuse, 34 per cent of them experienced abuse for three to five years. For 33 per cent of the respondents, abuse was a daily experience. Among those who reported abuse, 89 per cent of the elderly belong to age group of 60-70 years, 10 per cent to 71-80 years. The mean age of those who reported abuse was 65 years. Forty five per cent of respondents were postgraduates, 25 per cent graduates. Among them, 85 per cent were married and 14 per cent were widows or widowers, the study says.

There is no social and physical security for elders. They have to live with abusive daughter-in-laws and sons. There is no legal recourse for them to move against abusive daughter-in-laws. Rather a abusive daughter-in-laws has much more protection from elder. Hence it is very sad that elders have no legal protection in their homes. The Domestic Violence Act 2005 must be amended urgently to bring "Elderly Abuse" in its ambit. Apart from that state must build social security system to support elders in their own homes or in care home. Elder abuse is a fact and can not be tackled without strong policy measures. It will become worse and worse with in coming years because of changing demographics and life styles.

Can The Hindu debate this issue as they did for Delhi Rape case ?

from:  Tarsem Singh
Posted on: Jun 15, 2013 at 15:22 IST
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