JDC Israel: 20% of elderly suffer abuse, neglect

By
June 10, 2013 18:58

While 510 cases of physical abuse against the elderly were reported in 2009, some 1070 were reported in 2012, a 110% increase.

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KEN LAZAKEN founder Natan Lavon (left)

Senior citizen vigil 370. (photo credit: Danielle Ziri)

Twenty percent of the elderly in Israel experience abuse and/or neglect, according to data released by the Welfare Ministry and the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) on Monday, ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, on June 15.

According to the report, revealing figures for 2012, there was a sharp increase in reported cases of elder abuse or neglect to social services in the country since 2009.

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The most significant increase was recorded in complaints of physical abuse. While 510 cases were reported in 2009, some 1,070 were reported in 2012, an increase of 110 percent.

There was a 90% rise in the number of reports of neglect; a 72% increase in cases of sexual abuse and financial abuse rose by 78%.

As defined by the JDC, neglect is the deprivation of basic needs or essential services such as food, medicine or medical care, among others.

The organization stated that it considers abuse “a behavior that occurs frequently and affects the elder physically, sexually, psychologically or financially.”

“Tens of thousands of elderly people in Israel live in the unbearable reality of abuse or neglect,” CEO of JDC Israel Prof.

Yossi Tamir said. “The reasons are varied, but in the end it is important to remember that these are very complex cases where the source of the abuse is often a family member or a private caregiver.

“Personal, social, financial and emotional dependency are created between the elder and the source of the abuse, which forms a circle that appears unbreakable,” he added. “We have the means to change this reality, but no system can do anything about it without people reporting the cases.”

Dr. Sara Alon who manages the JDC’s program for the prevention of elder abuse and neglect, stressed that anyone who encounters cases of the “painful problem” can intervene to stop the abuse.

Ahead of next week’s awareness day, the JDC launched a radio campaign on the subject last week, in which the public can hear senior citizens reporting cases of abuse or neglect.

According to the JDC, a high number of inquiries from elderly people suffering from such treatment were received within hours following the first broadcast.


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