SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Korea Bizwire) —Three out of four senior citizens in South Korea who fell victim to ‘elder financial abuse’, a fast-growing form of abuse of seniors — involving deprivation of income or property, commonly involving trusted persons — were between 70 and 80 years of age, a recent study showed.
The Korea Elder Protection Agency, an advocacy group for the rights of the elderly said, that there were 411 cases of economic abuse against senior citizens reported last year.
Among these cases, 69.6 percent involved deprivation or arbitrary use of income, property, and wages of senior citizens.
The study showed that 25.3 percent involved arbitrary control over deciding how to use or manage the property of a senior citizen, and 5.1 percent involved acts that infringe upon property rights.
Among the senior victims, 76 percent were between 70 and 80 years of age, 47 percent of whom were widows.
One out of four senior victims were placed in the low-income tier and relied on basic welfare, and 89 percent of the victims were without a job.
Among the victims, 87 percent also suffered from physical and psychological abuse, and 36 percent had been suffering from economic abuse for more than five years.
Experts argue that the statistics are just the tip of the iceberg due to a lack of social awareness on the issue, and those working in the finance sector or others closely related to economic abuse are legally exempted from reporting to a public agency.
“Economic abuse is something that is very difficult to be prevented or addressed due to the current structure of social services,” said professor Hong Song-i from Dongguk University.
“Coming up with a network that includes social services, the legal system, and finance is required to reveal more cases and lead them to resolution.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)