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For the report Elder Abuse in India (2014), the research pans 12 cities across 8 states with a sample size of 1,200 elders covering both metro (Tier I) and non- metro (Tier II) cities. The report was done to determine the existence of elder abuse, reasons for its occurrence, its extent and what as per elderly were the most effective measures to deal with the problem.

According to the report entitled Elder Abuse in India (2014) by HelpAge India (please click here to download):

• In 2014 the percentage of elders abused went up drastically from 23% in the previous year to 50%.

• The elderly victims cite that the primary reasons underlying their abuse are emotional dependence on the abuser (46%), economic dependence on the abuser (45%) and changing ethos (38%).

• Verbal Abuse (41%), Disrespect (33%) and Neglect (29%) are ranked as the most common types of abuse experienced by the elderly. 

• Elders across cities were asked about the abusers within their family. The Daughter-in-law (61%) and Son (59%) emerged as the topmost perpetrators. This is a trend that is continuing from the previous years. Not surprisingly, 77% of those surveyed, live with their families.

• Though the national capital of Delhi ranked the lowest in elder abuse with 22 per cent amongst Tier I cities, it also indicated a marginal increase of the same from 20 per cent last year, showing a slow but disturbing growth. Bengaluru ranked the highest at 75 per cent among Tier I cities surveyed, while in the Tier II cities Kanpur was the lowest (13 per cent) and Nagpur highest at 85 per cent.

• Women seemed to be more vulnerable with 52% of them facing abuse as against 48% of the men surveyed. The report said that while the abuse has gone up, 41% of those abused did not report the matter to anyone.

• An interesting observation about the Reasons for Not Reporting abuse, is that in Metro cities there is marked ‘lack of confidence in the any person or agency to deal with the problem’ and also there seems to be a general feeling of “did not know how to deal with the abuse”. However “Fear of retaliation” appears in 3 out of 6 Tier II cities, unlike the Tier I cities.

• All elders surveyed seemed most aware of the police helpline at 67%. In the case of victims the awareness level continues to be high at 64% but only 12% approached the police.

• Nationally, the effective mechanisms perceived by all elderly to deal with Elder Abuse include “increasing economic independence of the abused (30%)”, “sensitizing children and strengthening inter-generational bonding (21%)” and “developing Self-Help-Groups of Older Persons to provide assistance and intervention (14%).”

• Many victims both in Tier I & Tier II cities pointed out “Developing an effective legal reporting & redressal system” is an important step for effectively dealing with Elder Abuse.

Rural Expert

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