Report released ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

About 50 per cent of the elderly surveyed across 12 cities in the country admit to having experienced abuse.

The report by HelpAge India, released ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day observed on June 15, has put in perspective the extent of elder abuse in urban India.

In a similar survey last year, only 23 per cent of the respondents had said they faced abuse.

The survey of 1,200 people, over sixty years of age, with equal number of men and women, reveals that 52 per cent of the women say they have been abused, as opposed to 48 per cent of the men. The main reason for abuse has been emotional and economic dependence on the abuser, say the surveyed, 77 per cent of who live with their families. The top perpetrators of abuse are the daughter-in-law (61%), and son (59%).

Bangalore emerges with most complaints among tier-I cities, at 75 per cent, while Nagpur fares the worst among tier-II cities, at 85 per cent. Not far behind, Chennai has 53 per cent of surveyed elders experiencing abuse against a mere 9 per cent in last year’s survey.

Joint director –Tamil Nadu of HelpAge India V. Sivakumar said the increase in numbers could be attributed to better awareness among the elderly in the city.

“Chennai has more elderly coming forward to speak about abuse. There is increased awareness of facilities and protection mechanisms available with the government and otherwise,” he said, adding that the organisation also conducts several elder awareness programmes, such as walkathons and signature campaigns, and engages with schools from its 37 centres across the country to promote age-care values.

The helpline at the organisation receives about 10 to 15 calls in a day, Mr. Sivakumar said. “We have calls coming in from hospitals and police stations and also about elders being spotted abandoned on roads and at railway stations,” he said. In such cases, an FIR is filed and steps are initiated to admit the abandoned at short-stays or old age homes, after which attempts are made to contact the family.

District social welfare officer S. Revathi, at a function to release the report in the city on Friday, said elders could approach the Collectorate, and the government would take steps to intervene and counsel the parties concerned and direct action under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

The toll-free helpline number with HelpAge for the State is 1800-180-1253.

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