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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: ‘Cases of abuse underreported, data unreliable’

The United Nations theme for 2021 is 'Access to justice' and, this year, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was observed on June 15.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: June 23, 2021 9:35:37 am
World Elder Abuse Awareness DayThe United Nations theme for 2021 is 'Access to justice' and, this year, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was observed on June 15 | Express photo by Jasbir Malhi/file

Due to emotional reasons, many elders did not complain about their own children or family members, which leads to underreporting in cases of abuse against them in turn making data on the issue unreliable, said R Subrahmanyam, secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

He was speaking during the inaugural address at a webinar organised by Pune-based Janaseva Foundation along with Geriatric Society of India and others to raise awareness on the issue of elder abuse in the family. The United Nations theme for 2021 is ‘Access to justice’ and, this year, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was observed on June 15.

Subrahmanyam suggested a five-point action plan: improving livelihoods for the elderly, commencing national helpline for senior citizens (14567), right to ask questions, formation of women protection group and role of old age homes to emerge as strong protection centres.

Shyam Tagade, principal secretary, social justice department of Maharashtra, said though the state had policies for the well-being of the elderly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a gap in execution. This will now be addressed as the intensity of the second wave is on a decline, Tagade added.

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Dr Vinod Shah, chairperson, Janaseva Foundation, said one in six elderly persons globally was experiencing some form of abuse, and was not specific to India.

Smitesh Shah, project manager at the foundation, said they provided ground support to the elderly through their team of 45 professionals, who attended every phone call received on the helpline.

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