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Tuesday, June 15, 2010
HelpAge India’s ‘Report on Elder Abuse in India” brings out some startling facts marking WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY 2010
June 15, New Delhi (National).
Today, on the “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day” (which falls on June 15), HelpAge India, the nation’s premier charity working for the elderly brought out some startling facts from a study it conducted across 8 cities in India on Elder Abuse.
The methodology of the study was primarily through HelpAge India’s network of Senior Citizen Associations and individuals. Both quantitative and qualitative techniques were used. The main survey was quantitative with structured interviews among elderly men and women in the age group of 60+ years primarily among the educated middle class. A sample size of 800 (approx.) was carried out in 8 cities with 100 per city (approx.). The 8 cities were: Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bhopal, Chennai, Patna and Hyderabad.
The qualitative component included In Depth Interviews carried out with respondent * such as Legal Experts, members of Senior Citizen Associations, Police Officers, Medical Experts, Social Welfare Officer, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Psychologists, Corporate and Individual donors.
One fifth of the elderly did not know what constitutes abuse and among those that were aware, more than one third felt elder abuse constitutes: from feeling disrespected to verbal abuse, economic abuse, neglect, emotional abuse and physical abuse. Topping the kinds of abuse faced was: 40.2% elderly felt disrespected, followed by verbal abuse (37.8%), neglect, economic abuse (28.2%), emotional abuse (25.8%) and physical abuse (14.1%).
Bhopal had the highest percentage of elderly who faced abuse (79.3 %) and Delhi came out as the good city with the lowest (15.4%). Physical abuse was the highest in Kolkata (22.8%), Hyderabad (21.7%), Mumbai (21%) & Ahmedabad (20%) in comparison to other cities.
44% elders consider Neglect as a form of abuse and of those abused, 33.7% stated that they faced neglect. Topping the reasons for Neglect stated by the elders was that family members were too preoccupied with their own lives & work.
Nearly 50% of elders live with their sons (49.5%) and of those that are financially dependent - 57% are dependent on their sons. Of those facing abuse, 53.6 % of the elderly stated, they were abused by their own son followed by a close second by their daughter-in-law (43.3%).In Delhi, Domestic help was another source with 19% elderly feeling abused by them.
The reasons for taking no action against abuser were mainly: the belief that nothing concrete will happen, second a sense of shame in the community, followed by fear of further abuse.
53.4% elderly took no action when faced with abuse and 25.5% elderly prefer to discuss it with family or community to resolve matters.
33% of those that registered a complaint against the abuser felt nothing concrete came out of it. Maximum number of the senior citizens felt that the elderly should be given protection by law enforcing agencies followed by home visits. Close to two fifth (38%) of the elderly perceive the role of police and lawyers as non supportive.
The main context of abuse was Property (35.4%) followed by Lack of Emotional Support (30.2%). The percentage of elderly who owned property was highest on Delhi (68.3%), Patna (68%) and Bhopal (62.1%). The main source of income for most elderly was their Pension (45 %) with Delhi once again topping the list with 62%.
Nearly one third each of the elderly reported facing abuse because of lack of emotional support (30%) and lack of basic necessities (29%).
A large number of elderly are unaware of existing laws to protect them, with only one third of the elderly (33%) being aware. The awareness of laws and programmes is highest in Delhi (53.8%) followed by Mumbai (44.7%) and Kolkata (40.3%). The awareness level is lowest in Bhopal (8%).
‘Having steady cash flow’, ‘making adjustments within family’ and ‘having own property to reduce economic dependency’ are the major measures suggested by the elderly to control elder abuse.
The qualitative study respondents* suggested that families need to interact with one another and maintain harmony and peaceful relationships to control elder abuse. The children and the elderly both need to make adjustments. Donors feel that civil society needs to be made more aware of the issue of elder abuse. To facilitate this, the Corporates are willing to support the cause as they believe that they are part of the society and it is their social obligation to participate in social issues.
HelpAge India feels that Awareness about Elder Abuse is the first concrete step in tackling the problem. Awareness of what it constitutes, of the laws available to tackle it and most importantly open and healthy dialogues between people though discussions, forums, educational mediums among other things.
ABOUT HELPAGE INDIA
HelpAge India is a leading humanitarian, development and campaign organization working with and for older people in India for the more than 30 years. It advocates strongly for their cause and supports & also runs age care programmes throughout the country to make lasting improvements in the lives of disadvantaged older persons. It strongly believes in the potential of the elderly and their undeniable contribution to society. It also advises & facilitates the government in formation of policy related to the elderly. It was registered under the Societies Registration Act of 1860.
For more info contact:
Sonali Sharma: 9810676562
1. The mean age of the elderly across the cities is 68 years. More than half of the elderly in Kolkata (54%) are of 70+ years.
2. Three fourth (74%) of the elderly are currently married, while one fifth (23%) are divorced.
3. The mean number of children the elderly have is 3, with 2 sons and 1 daughter in all cities except Hyderabad, Kolkata and Patna where it is 4.
4. Half of the elderly stay with son, while one fourth (27%) stay with spouse. One tenth (10%) of the elderly are living alone and their children come to visit them.
5. Emotional abuse was reported more in Delhi (62%) and Kolkata (54%).
6. Four fifth (82%) of the elderly are literates with one fifth (19%) and one tenth (13%) being Graduates and Post Graduates respectively. Close to one fifth (18%) of the elderly are illiterate.
7. Half (51%) of the elderly own property and this is highest in Delhi (68%) and Patna (68%) and lowest in Hyderabad (28%) and Kolkata (36%).
8. As regards the last main occupation, 26% of the elderly were homemakers, while 19% were working as unskilled workers.
9. One fifth of the elderly are currently engaged in economic activity.
10. More than two fifth (45%) of the elderly currently economically active are self employed/ professionals. Nearly one fifth of the elderly are shop owners.
11. The average monthly household income of the elderly is Rs. 12,045. About three fifth (59%) of the elderly have a monthly household income of less than Rs 10,000.
12. More than two fifth (45%) of the elderly have pension as the main source of income and one fifth get income from interest on savings and fixed deposits.
13. Close to three fourth (73%) of the elderly are living in their own house while 18% are living in a rented place.
14. More than two fifth (46%) of the elderly are financially dependent on others, with highest being reported in Chennai (63%) and Kolkata (61%).
15. More than half (57%) of the elderly are financially dependent on their son and around one fourth are dependent on their spouse.
16. More than two fifth (44%) of the elderly consider negligence as elder abuse.
17. More than one third each of the elderly feel that elder abuse constitutes emotional abuse (39%), verbal abuse (37%), economic abuse (35%), showing disrespect (34%) and physical abuse (34%).
18. About one third (35%) of the elderly feel neglected with 21% of the elderly in the age group of 60-69 years feeling so.
19. Feeling of being neglected stems from the family related factors such as family members not spending time and not interacting.
20. More than two fifth (46%) of the elderly reported that the family members are busy with their own work/lives and thus neglect them.
21. The elderly faced various types of abuse with showing disrespect being the most common form of abuse followed by verbal abuse, neglect, economic abuse and emotional abuse.
22. More than one third (36%) of the elderly have experienced any type of abuse with this being reported highest in Bhopal (79%) followed by Chennai (59%) and Kolkata (44%) and lowest in Delhi (15.4%).
23. Abuse in terms of showing disrespect was reported more in Chennai (71%) and Kolkata (54%).
24. Verbal abuse was reported more in Mumbai (79%), Ahmedabad (57%) and Kolkata (53%).
25. Physical abuse was reported more in Kolkata (23%), Hyderabad (22%), Mumbai (21%) and Ahmedabad (20%).
26. Abuse is reported more from the family members, with son and daughter in law emerging as the major abusers.
27. Abuse by son was reported most in Bhopal (70%) followed by Patna (57%), and Kolkata (54%).
28. Abuse by domestic help was reported more in Delhi (19%) and Ahmedabad (13%).
29. One third (35%) of the elderly faced abuse due to property issues.
30. Nearly one third each of the elderly reported facing abuse because of lack of emotional support (30%) and lack of basic necessities (29%).
31. Half (53%) of the elderly did not take any action when they faced abuse. This is reported highest in Chennai (80%), Bhopal (69%) and Ahmedabad (62%).
32. Most (92%) of the elderly did not register any complaint against the abuser.
33. Among the elderly who registered complaint, 33% reported that nothing concrete came out of it, while 27% reported about the police carried out home visit, as a result of the complaint.
34. Nearly half of the elderly (48%) are willing to take concrete action against abuse in future.
35. Unwillingness to take any action against abuse stems from the perception among the elderly that - ‘nothing concrete will happen’ if any action is taken, followed by a sense of shame in the community and fear of further abuse.
36. Awareness about laws, policies and programmes against elder abuse is low among the elderly.
37. One third (33%) of the elderly are aware of existing laws and programmes against elder abuse.
38. Among the Elderly who are aware of the laws, policies and programmes, majority (88%) are aware of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen’s Act, (56%) of the elderly are aware of the National Policy on Older Persons, (67%) are aware of the Protection for Women against Domestic Violence Act.
39. Awareness of the law enforcing agencies is low as only one fifth of the elderly (18%) are aware of these.
40. Close to two fifth (38%) of the elderly perceive the role of police and lawyers as non supportive in tackling abuse.
41. One fourth of the elderly (26%) did not know about the role of the law enforcing agencies in controlling elder abuse.
42. More than one fourth (27%) of the elderly are of the view that the Police is not equipped to handle cases of elder abuse.
43. The major measures to be taken up by the law enforcing agencies suggested by the elderly include ‘giving protection’ and ‘carrying out home visits’.
44. It was also suggested that the Police should assist the elderly in getting maintenance from the children under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen’s Act.
45. ‘Having steady cash flow’, ‘making adjustments within family’ and ‘having own property to reduce economic dependency’ are the major measures suggested by the elderly to control elder abuse.
Silver Inning Foundation thanks Helpage India for this excellent report and supports the fight to STOP Elder Abuse.
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