ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rising Cases of Elder Abuse in India


Elder abuse, as per the World Health Organization, refers to a single or a repeated act, or lack of an appropriate action, happening within any relation that involves an expectation of trust, which causes distress or harm to an elderly person. Reports indicate that about 16% of aged people are subjected to abuse worldwide.

India is no exception to the global trend of rising elder abuse, and, regrettably, a significant number of the elderly population in India is subjected to various kinds of abuse that mainly include physical abuse, neglect, and psychological abuse. In the absence of any clear policy, law, or public support programme to deter abusers, cases of abuse are rising exponentially, and it is likely that the rates of elder abuse in domestic and institutional settings, especially in urban India, would increase further. As per a report titled “Policy for the Aged: Opportunities and Challenges,” published by the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) in 2016, over time, elderly persons have become victims of fraud and abuse, and are being forced by family members to part with their rights of ownership. According to a HelpAge India report published in 2018, about one-fourth of aged persons (out of 5,014 elderly respondents) in urban India faced abuse, mostly at the hands of their sons (52%) or daughters-in-law (34%). The report further indicates that the most predominant kinds of abuse are: (i) disrespect (56%), (ii) verbal abuse (49%), and (iii) neglect (33%). The prevalence of abuse was reported to be higher among persons aged 80 years and above, and among those with poor economic background and low education. A study conducted by the author between 2018 and 2020 (as part of his doctoral work) in India’s urban settings indicates that about 32.6% of elderly respondents are exposed to abuse.

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Updated On : 4th Sep, 2023
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