1 in 5 Indian elders abused at home, says HelpAge India survey

1 in 5 Indian elders abused at home, says HelpAge India survey

A survey carried out by HelpAge India has shown that one in five elders face some or the other kind of abuse at home.

A survey carried out by HelpAge India has shown that one in five elders face some or the other kind of abuse at home.

The survey also observed that most of these victims (98%) don't file a police complaint, despite the presence of a law that would favour them.

Today is also World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and to observe it NGOs have come out and asked people to report any problem they face at home.

In most cases the biggest offenders are sons, daughters and daughters-in-law. 53.2% cases have property and inheritance disputes involved, says the survey. HelpAge India receives close to 150 calls about such abuses every month in Delhi.

Most cases involve property disputes

Geetika Sengupta, who handles HelpAge India's helpline, says that most calls concern property and money. "Neighbours or well-wishers usually call us and inform about the abuse. Some elders don't call themselves for the fear of a backlash, while others don't want to make the issue a public affair. We have seen cases of daughters abusing their mothers going up in the last couple of years," she says.

Most elders suffer in silence and elders' abuse was more common than most people thought, said Mathew Cherian, CEO, HelpAge India to The Times Of India. "Family members don't want to report instances, even for guidance or counselling," said Cherian.

Another common trend is elders being abandoned by their families. Out of the 150 calls HelpAge receives each month, around six are about the elderly found homeless on the streets.

"People come across lost and confused senior citizens and call to tell us. We temporarily lodge them in an old-age home while we try and trace their family," said Sengupta.

Despite the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 which is protects the elderly against abuse, Himanshu Rath, founder of the Agewell Foundation, says that not many are aware of it.

"Since the Act was formulated, very few cases have been reported under its purview," admitted Rath.

Agewell has observed that it is often the grandchildren who inform the authorities about such abuse.

The news story first appeared here.

Also Read: Almost 77 percent Indian parents expect to live with sons in old age

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