Abuse cases of elderly rise as more victims report plight

Helpline gets 1,500 calls a month; B'luru among top 10 cities

The number of cases registered for harassment of elders has been on a steady rise over the years.

The elders' helpline (1090) run by the Bengaluru City police and Nightingales Medical Trust, an NGO that works for helping elders in the state, receives at least 40 complaints a day. The calls reach up to around 1,500 a month.

According to Dr Radha Murthy, co-founder of the Trust, around 40% of the 10 lakh senior citizens in the city are subjected to different forms of abuse.

"The abuse could be emotional, negligence from family or anything else. It is difficult to identify the abuse, unless the person has gone into depression," said Radha.

According to data from the Trust, the number of complaints is increasing steadily. In the year 2009-2010, the number of cases registered was 62. In 2012 -2013, it rose to 83. Last year, the cases registered were 188. In 2017 (up to May), the number of cases registered reached 230.

"One of the reasons for the increase in the complaints received could be that more people are coming forward to report abuse and ask for help," said Premkumar Raja, co-founder of the Trust.

According to experts, mental and physical abuse are two of the many types of abuse, although cases of physical abuse are minimal. Most cases reported are related to financial cheating, harassment and property issues with children or relatives.

According to a survey conducted by HelpAge India, an NGO that works for the welfare of elderly, half of the senior citizens' population in India reported experiencing abuse in 2014. Around 77% of them lived with their families. Bengaluru was among 10 cities that were part of the survey. It also indicates that around 73% of the youth admitted elderly abuse exists.

Radha said there was fear and reluctance speaking on the issue, but it seems to be reducing. She said there was a huge generation gap and it pushes the elderly over the edge.

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