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400 pensioners abused each year

22 November 2007

BRUSSELS – The agency that deals with reports of elder abuse says that around 400 elderly people are abused in Flanders each year. In most cases the abuser is the victim’s own flesh and blood.

Some of the results of a recent Free University of Brussels study into the problem have been published in Thursday’s edition of the daily ‘Gazet van Antwerpen’. Many of the victims of elder abuse are elderly widows. In three-quarters of all cases, the abuse is perpetrated by the victim’s own child.

Ten percent of victims are over 90. The survey also does away with some of the clichés surrounding elder abuse.

It is often believed that most victims of elder abuse suffer from dementia and/or have little social contact outside the home.

However, this is not the case and 71% of victims are mentally and physically fit with only 10% of them suffering from dementia.

The study also revealed that sons are more likely than daughters to abuse their parents. Most abusers (66 percent) are over 50 with only 3 percent of elder abusers being younger than 30.

The figures quoted in the study refer to all forms of abuse and not only physical violence.

[Copyright Flanders news 2007]

Subject: Belgian news