According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), approximately 1 in 6 women and 1 in 10 men experience sexual coercion in their lifetimes. Increased awareness has shed much-needed light on sexual assault in recent years, especially in regard to women under the age of 25, who make up the most victimized group. However, many other victims suffer in silence, including nursing home residents.
CNN reports that while more allegations have become public since 2008, nursing home staff and law enforcement often fail to respond to them properly or at all. If your loved one experienced assault or rape at a nursing home, a Los Angeles sexual abuse lawyer can help you hold the facility accountable and seek financial recovery. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 842-6336 to speak with our legal team during your free case evaluation.
Types of Sexual Abuse
Sexual assault comprises many types of actions. All types, however, hold one thing in common: They happen against the victim’s will or without their consent. Sexual assault also covers actions that occur when an individual is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, disabled, or below the age of consent in the state where the assault transpired.
The National Institute of Justice lists the following activities as forms of sexual assault when they happen in the above circumstances:
- Intentionally touching the victim’s genitals, breasts, groin, or anus
- Exposing the victim to exhibitionisms
- Exposing the victim to pornography
- Publicly displaying images taken of the victim in a “private context” or without their knowledge
These actions may or may not involve the use of actual force, weapons, threats of force, intimidation, coercion, or pressure.
Although in some states, sexual assault stops short of attempted rape or rape, other states use the terms interchangeably, and still others consider rape to be a form of sexual assault. In a situation of rape, the victim suffers nonconsensual penetration (vaginal, anal, or oral), either by objects or the perpetrator’s body parts. This type of assault involves physical force or threats of physical harm. Alternatively, the victim is considered a minor or was incapacitated at the time of the assault.
The Prevalence of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
According to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, ombudsman programs, which investigate reports of improper activity, looked into over 800 nursing home sexual abuse complaints. While residents have the right to engage in consensual sexual activity with other residents, they also have the right to freedom from abuse by nursing home staff. While perpetrators may take advantage of the vulnerability of any nursing home residents, women and individuals with dementia account for most of the victims.
A victim does not have to suffer rape to experience sexual abuse. Other forms include:
- Unwanted touching, especially to private areas
- Forced sexual acts
- Forced nudity
- Sexually explicit photographs taken and distributed by perpetrators for pornographic purposes
If you suspect that your loved one experienced these or other forms of assault, a Los Angeles sexual abuse lawyer can help you investigate your case.
For a free legal consultation with a Sexual Abuse Lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 842-6336
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
When nursing home residents experience any form of mistreatment, they often exhibit general signs of abuse. These may include:
- Agitation or aggression
- Withdrawn behavior
- Mental health concerns, such as evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sudden fear of isolation
- Trouble sleeping
However, family members may notice more specific signs if the resident suffered sexual abuse in particular. If your loved one experienced this type of assault, you may notice signs such as:
- Bruising in private areas of the body
- Sudden trouble sitting or walking
- Unexplained bleeding or infections in genital areas
- Underwear with tears or stains
If your loved one tells you that they experienced sexual assault or you become aware of its occurrence, you can take steps to protect them from future abuse. Some options include reporting the incident(s) to nursing home administration, filing a police report, and consulting with a Los Angeles sexual abuse lawyer.
Los Angeles Sexual Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 842-6336
Legal Protections for Nursing Home Residents
Those who live in nursing homes typically have specialized care needs, and the law affords them protection against any type of neglect or abuse. Facilities have an obligation to exercise caution in hiring the staff who will care for residents and ensure their safety to the best of their ability through responsible employment practices. If administrators become aware of unlawful acts committed by staff, they may face legal consequences.
Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) of 1987
In 1987, federal legislators passed the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA), a set of laws intended to provide nursing home residents with adequate legal protection against neglect and abuse. The NHRA specifically states the rights of residents to not only exercise autonomy in their personal decisions and those regarding their care plans, but also to remain free from all types of mistreatment by nursing home staff.
It also makes clear their right to file complaints and voice concerns about the facility or the treatment they receive without the fear of punishment, including instances of sexual abuse. If your loved one reported their assault to nursing home staff and did not receive adequate protection as a result or suffered retaliation for their complaint, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you seek justice. Contact us today and a member of our team can discuss your case with you.
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Extension on Statute of Limitations for Civil Sexual Assault Cases
In 2019, the State of California amended the statute of limitations for sexual assault to give victims more time to pursue their cases in court. The state passed Assembly Bill 1619 in 2018, which extended the time frame for reporting abuse from two years to 10 years to the last act or attempted act. Sexual assault refers to instances of the abuse itself, attempts to sexually assault someone, or assault with the attempt to sexually abuse someone.
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Compensation for Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
When nursing homes fail to protect their residents from neglect or abuse, victims often suffer serious consequences that can have a lasting impact on their health and quality of life. If your loved one suffered sexual abuse in a nursing home, you may qualify for financial awards. Compensation for sexual assault cases varies by case, but it may include payment for:
- Medical bills
- Mental health treatment
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
How Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help
If you discovered that your loved one suffered sexual abuse at a nursing home, we understand that this difficult time may make pursuing a case feel overwhelming. However, you do not have to face the legal system alone. The attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you by getting to know the details of your case, gathering the appropriate evidence, and representing you in court. We work on a contingency fee-basis, so you do not owe us any fees unless we recover financial awards in your favor. Contact us today at (800) 842-6336 to discuss your case with our legal team.