When elderly citizens requires nursing home care, most people expect that their loved ones will be watched over by caring professionals who treat them with kindness, respect, and dignity. While many nursing care facilities do offer all of these things and more, there are unfortunately a plethora of cases nationwide in which nursing home residents are subjected to neglect, poor medical care, and even sexual abuse.
Reasons for Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
When sexual abuse occurs at a nursing home, or in any situation for that matter, it’s not always apparent to friends, family and loved ones. However, cases of sexual abuse can become in extreme in nature, resulting in life-threatening mental, physical, and emotional trauma.
Although neglect and poor medical care can cause many problems for residents of nursing homes, sexual abuse is often the worst type of crime that can take place in such a setting. The problem with sexual abuse within a nursing home setting is that it takes on a variety of facets, and each one may cause a victim to suffer in silence.
In many instances, victims of sexual abuse in nursing homes are typically victimized because their medical conditions make it difficult for them to communicate with others and express what’s going on. For example, not only do dementia victims have a difficult time in remembering events, but many are also unable to properly communicate what happens to them behind closed doors.
Additionally, victims of sexual abuse in nursing homes may be intimidated by their abuser. Some are even told they they will not receive food, medication, or other necessities if they speak out about the abuse.
Furthermore, residents of nursing homes with psychiatric disorders and a past criminal history may the be ones that sexually abuse other residents. It’s the responsibility of the nursing home to ensure that those with psychiatric disorders are constantly monitored so that all residents can live safely.
Strangers can also be guilty of sexual abuse in nursing homes. This normally happens when a nursing home doesn’t provide adequate security and supervision. Unfortunately, several nursing homes don’t mandate that guests sign-in for visitation and/or don’t have a proper security system installed. In addition, a staff member simply walking out and forgetting to close the facility door opens up an opportunity for a sexual deviant to gain entrance. It situation like this occur, the nursing home, by federal law, is almost always liable for negligence.
As alarming as it may seem, documents from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) show in that some instances, family members are guilty of sexual. This form of sexual abuse typically happens when a spouse is moved into a nursing home and their partner visits them. However, if the nursing home resident’s physical or mental condition doesn’t allow them to make a cohesive decision regarding sexual relations, this becomes a form of sexual abuse. It’s up to the nursing home to monitor these types of activities to ensure the residents are safe.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Unfortunately, even if victims can communicate, many are are often ashamed of what is taking place and therefore, don’t tell anyone. Family members may not find out about the sexual abuse until it’s too late. Often, this kind of abuse goes undetected for weeks, months or even years, and in some cases, it is never reported.
In extreme cases, nursing home staff and authorities are aware of the abuse and yet they choose to ignore it. In these situations, staff members who are responsible for the abuse may simply be transferred to a different area of the home or to another facility. Unfortunately, these types of offenders generally go on to abuse others in their new surroundings, continuing the cycle of pain.
Therefore, it’s crucial for loved ones to always remain alert, especially if you have feeling that something seems a bit off. Typical signs of elderly sexual abuse consist of:
- >Unexplained blood stains on clothing and/or linens and bed sheets
- Bleeding and bruising in the genital areas
- Bloody, stained, or ripped underclothing
- Bruising and handprints on the inner thighs, breasts, and buttocks
- Unusual fear and anxiety, especially when a certain person, such as a suspected staff member, resident, or acquaintance is nearby.
- Pain when sitting that was not present before and otherwise unexplained
- Presence of a sexually transmitted disease and/or infection in the genital area
- Depression, withdrawal, and refusal to communicate
The Role of a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you suspect that your loved one is being sexually abused, you should contact the proper authorities in your area to document your claims and have the situation investigated immediately.
In addition, it’s imperative to also contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer who specializes in sexual abuse and elder care abuse cases. A knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney will be able to meet with you to discuss your specific case. Additionally, a leading attorney will provide you with the options on how to proceed in order to bring the guilty party to justice.
If your case goes to court, your lawyer will be able to investigate the abuse and then provide the evidence for you and your loved one to a judge. This means that you and your loved one will be able to concentrate on healing from the damage done while your lawyer handles all paperwork, representation, and contact with authorities, witnesses, insurance companies and more.
Getting Legal Help
At McIver Brown law firm, our dedicated team of nursing home abuse attorneys have helped many sexual abuse victims and their loved ones go on to win the maximum financial compensation they deserve after such horrifying events. Although financial compensation won’t undo the harm, it will help victims and loved ones have the peace of mind that justice was served while covering any medical, psychological, and rehabilitation expenses that was incurred. For more information and for a no-obligation consultation, feel free to contact us today.