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The enemy within

1/4th elders abused in India. ‘Son, the main perpetrator’ says HelpAge report

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Geetanjali Minhas | June 22, 2018 | Mumbai


#HelpAge India   #Senior Citizens   #Senior Citizens Issues  

About one-fourth of India’s elderly face abuse at the hands of those they trust the most – the son (52%)  followed  by the daughter in law (34%),spouse/partner (14%), daughter(6%)  grandchild (6%), son in law(3%), parent(1%) and care giver(1%), reveals a report by the HelpAge India.

The report titled Elder Abuse in India –2018 Changing Cultural Ethos & Impact of Technology was prepared after a survey was conducted on 5,014 respondents from 23 cities.

About 56% of elderly people surveyed have experience disrespect, 49% of them were abused verbally, 22% have suffered economic exploitation, 34% were neglected and 12% were physically abused. At least one percent of them had experienced unwelcome or forcible sexual contact.

Maximum elder abuse was reported from Mangalore (47%), Ahmedabad (46%), Bhopal (39%), Amritsar (35%), and Delhi (33%). Jammu (12%), Mumbai (13%), Vizag (13%) Kochi (15%) and Guwahati (17%) had the least cases. More than 50% abusers were skilled workers and working professionals   with an average age of 42 years.

The shocking element in the report was that despite suffering, nearly 82% elders did not report the abuse caused to them. Only 18% elders made an attempt to report abuse and 35% of the total reporting was successfully resolved.

Maintaining confidentiality of the family matter was the main reason why a large number of elderly did not report the matter. Lack of awareness among 34% was another prime reason, 14% of them lacked confidence in ability of any person/ agency to solve problem, 11% had fear of retaliation and 10% felt apparent ineffectiveness of available channels of reporting and redressal.

Only 11% elderly were aware of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act (MWSCA) 2007 and only 2% were aware of Tribunal under the said Act. According to the survey outcomes, awareness of MWPSC Act was high in Tier-2 cities as compared to Tier-1 cities. Only 5% were aware of HelpAge Elder Helpline number.

Sixty nine percent elderly have a house in their own name, 7% have a house in spouse’s name, 3% are living with others and 20% are living on rent. In comparison to tier-2 cities, self-owned property among elders is low in tier-1 cities where 34% elders are living on rent and 11% are living in spouse owned property. 85% are living with family, 8% are living with spouse only, 6% are living alone and 2% are living with relatives.

More than 60% elderly said that quality time spent by their adult children and grandchildren with them had decreased with increase in usage of phones and computers. Nearly 65% said they found extreme attention given to phones and computers  disrespectful .73% elders felt that their children were too busy on the phone even when at home with them and  78%  said that social media had decreased their families personal time spent with them.

38% elders felt that the most effective way to deal with elder abuse is to sensitise children and strengthen inter- generational bonding, followed by increased  economic independence of the abused (37%),sensitise  adults(35%) and the need to develop a more effective response and redressal system (25%).
 
 

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