Abuse of seniors increased 4.9% to hit record level 15,615 cases in 2009

Kyodo News

Abuse of elderly people by family members rose 4.9 percent in fiscal 2009 to a record 15,615 cases, according to the welfare ministry.

The number of people aged 65 and above who died as a result of such abuse came to 32, up eight from the previous year and tying the record set in fiscal 2006, when the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry started compiling comparable data.

Abuse by staff at elderly care facilities, such as nursing homes and group homes, rose 8.6 percent to 76 cases, also an all-time high, the ministry’s nationwide survey showed.

The number of consultations and warning reports on elder abuse by family members, relatives and cohabitants totaled 23,404, up 7.9 percent, of which 15,615 cases were verified, the ministry said.

Of the 32 fatalities, 17 people were murdered by care givers, while six died as a result of family members neglecting to provide care, it said. Another five died as a result of violence inflicted by family members.

Of the overall cases of abuse, 41 percent involved the sons of the elderly victims, the ministry said.

Authorities received a total of 408 consultations or warning reports alleging abuse at care facilities, of which 76 cases, including physical and psychological as well as sexual abuse, were verified.

The survey, the fourth of its kind, was conducted under the Law on the Prevention of Elderly Abuse and Support for Attendants of Elderly Persons enforced in 2006.