Japan had 16,750 cases of elder abuse by family members and nursing facility workers in fiscal 2011, according to a report released Dec. 21 by the health ministry, with almost 60 percent of victims abused by their sons or husbands.
The report said that almost half the victims suffered from dementia.
“We have to make efforts to promote public understanding of dementia, as well as to offer further support to families with higher risks (of elder abuse),” the report said.
According to the Law on Prevention of Elderly Abuse and Support for Attendants of Elderly Persons that took effect in 2006, people who discover severe cases of abuse are obligated to inform their municipalities.
The number of cases recognized by municipalities in fiscal 2011 was just 14 less than the number of cases from fiscal 2010.
“We have to further raise public awareness of the informing system,” said the ministry’s report.
Most instances of abuse took place at home and accounted for 16,599 cases. Among them, 38 percent of the victims are elderly who live with their unmarried children, with the percentage followed by 24 percent for those living with their married children and 19 percent for those living only with their spouses.
Of the victims of abuse, 48 percent were suffering from dementia.
As for the perpetrators of the abuse, 41 percent, the largest number, were sons of the victims, and the second largest were husbands at 18 percent. The third largest, daughters, were 17 percent.
“A lot of men are unfamiliar with household duties, and fail to handle domestic affairs and their work at the same time,” the report said. “That can result in abuse.”
Of all types of abuses, physical abuse, such as beatings, totaled 65 percent. Abusive language and other psychological forms of abuse accounted for 37 percent, and financial abuses, such as using money without permission, were 25 percent. Neglect of the elderly also hit 25 percent.
Twenty-one people were killed by their abusers in fiscal 2011.
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