June 15, 2011

INDIA: Abuse of senior citizens by kin on the rise - HelpAge

MUMBAI, Maharashtra / The Hindustan Times / India West / June 15, 2011

By HT Correspondent

A study on abuse of senior citizens across nine cities including Mumbai has found that a high proportion of elderly people are subjected to abuse and ill treatment by their daughter-in-laws and sons.

The HelpAge report on “Elder Abuse & Crime in India” released on the eve of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Tuesday by HelpAge India interviewed 900 elderly persons. Using a sample of 100 elderly respondents from each city, the survey was conducted in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Patna, Hyderabad.

In the lower economic strata, the daughter-in-law was seen as the major abuser in 63.4% cases. In the higher economic bracket, in 53.6% of the cases, the son was responsible for ill-treating his parents.The survey also revealed that abuse is highest among women above 70 years as they are more dependent on their sons than their male counterparts.

"Cases of abuse of elderly people are increasing everyday. The main objective was to find out the prime reasons for the abuse and to assess the nature and extent of crimes," said Prakash Borgaonkar, director of HelpAge India. "We also wanted to determine the prevalence of abuse among those from the lower socio-economic strata."

The report also stated that more than one-fifth of the elderly in India face violence, neglect or maltreatment, with Bangalore topping the list at 44%. An alarming 98% of the elderly do not report abuse, even while the option for legal action exists.

The elderly attributed several causes of abuse ranging from change in cultural values, lack of economic resources among the elderly and feeling neglected due to the busy schedule and lack of interaction by family members.

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