As unimaginable and disgusting as it may seem, sexual abuse in nursing homes occurs more than we would like to think. Sexual abuse incidents not only occur among nursing home residents and staff but also between the residents. Due to the embarrassment, trauma, and stigma associated with this kind of abuse, it is usually hard for victims to come forward. It is important for you to keep a close eye on your loved one and constantly communicate with them.
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of sexual abuse, consult a Las Vegas sexual abuse lawyer as soon as possible. One of our team members will examine the case and advise you of the best legal options.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 today for a free case review.
How Sexual Assault Occurs in Nursing Homes
Sexual abuse of the elderly consists of any non-consensual sexual contact with an elderly person. Elderly residents in nursing homes are seen as easy victims of sexual abuse, particularly because they are unable to physically defend themselves, suffer from confusion, or are unable to communicate. The most vulnerable groups of nursing home residents are:
- Women: According to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, women comprise nearly 65% of the nursing home population and have the highest risk of being sexually abused.
- Residents with dementia: Residents with dementia are susceptible to sexual abuse because of their impaired memory and are often unable to report their abuser. If they are unable to properly communicate their abuse, their accounts may be seen as incredible.
- Residents with physical disabilities: Residents with physical disabilities often need more physical care from staff members. This puts them at a high risk of sexual abuse.
Nursing home sexual abuse may involve:
- Non-consensual kissing
- Coerced nudity
- Sexual photography of resident
Sexual Abusers in Nursing Homes
In most cases of elder sexual abuse, the accused is a fellow resident. It is the responsibility of a nursing home to screen all the incoming residents and identify those who may be prone to sexual abuse.
Nursing home residents have the right to engage in consensual sex, as long as both residents have the capacity to consent. Even though perpetrators of sexual abuse are often fellow residents in a nursing home, anyone else who has contact with residents can be a sexual abuser. This includes nursing home staff and visitors to the home.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 842-6336
Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
If a nursing home resident is suffering from sexual assault or abuse, there may be signs that you can easily identify. Some of the physical signs that you can watch for include:
- Unexplained STDs and STIs
- Bruises on breasts, genitals, and areas around the inner thighs
- Torn or blood-stained underwear
- Sudden difficulty in walking or sitting
- Vaginal or anal pain and bleeding
Other than the physical signs, a sexual abuse victim can develop sudden behavioral changes, including:
- Withdrawal from social interactions
- Panic attacks
- Fear of a person or place
- Fear of being left alone
Nursing Homes Duties and Obligations
Cases regarding nursing home sexual abuse often lack concrete evidence, making them hard to prove. Besides, most cases may not involve physical symptoms, and behavioral changes may not be enough to detect nursing home abuse. In fact, some of the behavioral changes may be signs of medical conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Nonetheless, nursing homes have a duty to protect their residents by ensuring that they live in a safe environment free from any kind of abuse, including sexual abuse. Nursing homes are obligated to take reasonable care when hiring their staff, to check for criminal records, and ensure that applicants have not committed sexual offenses before. Nursing homes must also investigate any suspicions or allegations of sexual assault by staff members and immediately report them to state authorities.
We Can Help Establish Liability for Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
Any sexual contact given without permission is illegal and reprehensible. Perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions. Our legal team can help you identify parties who may be held liable for your loved one’s sexual abuse. They may include:
Staff members should be present and be able to notice any signs of sexual abuse. However, if they are overworked or lack proper training, they may miss some subtle signs of sexual abuse. If they happen to notice the signs of abuse and fail to take immediate action, they may be held liable.
Nursing Home Administrators
If nursing homes fail to adhere to their duties and obligations, they may be held accountable in a court of law. For instance, if a nursing home fails to do a thorough screening of an abusive staff member, they may be held liable.
Residents will have occasional appointments with doctors and nurses. These medical professionals may notice some obvious physical signs of sexual abuse. If the medical professional does not report the assault to the nursing home’s management immediately, they may be held liable for not ensuring their patient’s safety.
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Consult Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
If you believe that your loved one may have suffered sexual abuse, we can work with you to investigate the incident and establish the necessary facts to hold the nursing home responsible. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 842-6336 to see what a Las Vegas sexual abuse lawyer may be able to do for you.