Family Violence: Reflections on Elder Abuse in India



India is generally perceived to be a country that has a strong tradition of family that nurtures, protects and respects its ‘dependent members’, such as children, women and the elderly. However, in modern times this tradition seems to be weakening, with increasing incidence of family violence. This chapter is based on the data collected by HelpAge India from various Indian cities (Metros, Tier-I and II cities) in the period 2012–2014, and draws inferences from it. The HelpAge study explored the views of older persons on the components of elder abuse, its prevalence, and sub-types. Seniors were also asked about their personal as well as general experience of abuse, reporting of abuse, suggestions for effective measures to deal with elder abuse and information about currently available intervention mechanisms to deal with the problem. Some common trends that emerged were that elder abuse was experienced by a substantial number of older persons. Disrespect, neglect and verbal abuse were the most commonly experienced sub-types. A very high percentage of older persons felt that the rate of elder abuse in the country was fairly high and many of them had seen such cases in their family or neighbourhood. Elder abuse was faced by those living with their family and most of them blamed the son and/or the daughter-in-law for it. The reported duration and frequency of abuse was also alarming. The victims kept it to themselves and in some cases the other family members and/or friends were informed. The respondents thought that abuse could be prevented or controlled by strengthening inter-generational ties, sensitizing young adults to the issue and by increasing seniors’ economic independence. But, the victims of abuse wanted effective legal mechanisms for reporting and redress. A large majority of older persons were aware of the police helpline but were not willing to use it.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Policy Research and Development DepartmentHelpAge IndiaNew DelhiIndia

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