Socio-Economic Dynamics of Intrafamilial Elder Abuse in Baringo County, Kenya Chesang’ Consolata Jepkemei
Jepkemei, Chesang’ Consolata
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Until the emergence of policies and legal frameworks to address domestic violence -including intimate partner and child abuse- in the last decades of the 20th century, abuse of the older persons had persisted as a private matter that received very little public attention. Even so, intrafamilial elder abuse (IFEA) has been acknowledged globally as a pervasive problem, associated with overwhelming distinct consequences, outcomes, and societal expenses. Kenya is experiencing population ageing at a high rate, which implies that, with it, elder abuse, and particularly IFEA is anticipated to become a more pressing problem, distressing millions of older individuals countrywide. This study sought to explore the socio-economic dynamics of IFEA in Baringo County. The study objectives were to profile the dominant types of IFEA, to examine the dynamics of IFEA in relation to the associated socio-economic risk factors, and to assess the dynamics associated with reporting and disclosure of IFEA, guided by Homan’s Social Exchange theory. The study embraced a cross-sectional analytical survey design to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. The study was conducted in Baringo County. The respondents of the study were older persons in the area who were aged 65 years and older; 226 older persons from two purposively sampled sub counties were sampled for the study. The Black and Champion sample size determining formula was used. The study also targeted key informants including local authorities, health care authorities, adult protection agency representatives and law enforcement. Semi-structured interviews, key informant interviews, and focus group discussion guides were used in data collection. Quantitative data was analyzed using the SPSS 21.0 to generate both descriptive and inferential statistics such as crosstabs and chi-square tests. Qualitative data was analyzed thematically. The study established that most prevalent form of intrafamilial abuse reported in the study was psychological abuse (79.2%) while sexual abuse was the least (19.9%) prevalent type of IFEA. The study found out that gender of the victim, victim dependence and vulnerability, living arrangements, trust relationships, social isolation and financial dependency on the older person influenced the older persons’ experiences with the different types of abuse reported in the study. Based on the reported dynamics of IFEA in relation to reporting, the study concluded that given the right platforms, older persons are more likely to report incidences of abuse. The study concludes that IFEA is a dynamic social problem, which varies across cultural contexts, perceptions, socio-economic risk factors, as well as in its reporting and disclosure. The study recommends that elder abuse should be declared a public health issue and strategies and measures be put in place to protect abuse victims and encourage them to seek help.