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Elders mostly abused by their dear ones, finds study

Bengaluru: June 16, 2016, DHNS 2:10 IST
Senior citizens hold placards on elder abuse to mark the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Bengaluru on Wednesday. DH PHOTO
A majority of the perpetrators of elder abuse are none but members of their own family, says a recent study of complaints at the elders’ helplines (1090) run by the Bengaluru police and the Nightingales Medical Trust.

In 2015-16, the helpline registered 393 cases of elder abuse; 188 perpetrators were said to be family members. While 44.8% cases of elder abuse were perpetrated by relatives, 33.8% by daughters-in-law and 21.4% by children.

The Trust revealed the data on Wednesday to mark the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It carried out a number of activities, including street plays, to bring awareness about elder abuse.

“The population of elders is increasing. Elders with age-related disability are an easy target of abuse. But victims of elder abuse are not vocal about it,” said Dr Radha S Murthy, managing trustee, Nightingales Medical Trust.

Consider the case of Kamakyamma (name changed), a resident of Anepalya. Her two children asked her to leave their homes and fend for herself in the autumn of her life.

“My son’s children didn’t like me, so I had to move out. I went to stay with my daughter and was asked to pay rent. Where would I go and look for a job at this age?” said the 76-year-old woman.
The most her daughter could do was to halve the rent, she told Deccan Herald on the sidelines of the event.

Maria (name changed) is being abused by her younger son for several years now. “He comes home drunk late in the night and starts abusing me,” she said.

When asked why she didn’t go to the police, she said, “Is it not a shame on the family if the police come to my home? Will it not raise questions about my upbringing,” she asked.

These are not isolated incidents. There are thousands of elderly people in Bengaluru who are being abused and harassed, often by members of their own family.

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