Most people place their elderly loved one in a nursing home in order to ensure their safety and offer the services and care they cannot provide. One of the most horrifying experiences is to learn that your elderly loved one was a victim of sexual abuse in their nursing home.
If your elderly loved one suffered sexual abuse or injuries while they were a resident of a nursing home, learn how a New York City sexual abuse lawyer can help you obtain justice on their behalf. Contact our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free consultation.
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.
Sexual Abuse in the Elderly
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes sexual abuse as a form of elder abuse. Unfortunately, due to the fact that many elderly residents of nursing homes suffer from medical conditions that affect their cognitive thinking such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, they may have a challenging time actually remembering the abuse or any specific details. However, if you visit your elderly loved one in the nursing home and discover any of these symptoms, you should immediately visit with the nursing home staff management and request an official case opening regarding possible sexual abuse of your loved one.
- Development of a sexually transmitted disease
- Pain or difficulty sitting, walking, or standing
- Blood, bruising or other injuries in the genitals, anus, or inner thigh area
- Blood in underwear
- Ripped underwear or other clothing
- Changed behavior such as panic attacks, anger, frustration, fear around particular nursing home workers, sexually charged behavior, aggressive actions towards others or self-harm
- Withdrawal from family, friends, and social activities with no explanation
The McGill Journal of Medicine indicates a strong link between sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. The signs and symptoms of your loved one’s abuse may not only appear physically but also psychologically.
For a free legal consultation with a New York City Sexual Abuse Lawyer serving New York City, call (800) 794-0444
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
Many families are completely overwhelmed and bewildered that any type of sexual harm or abuse could come to their elderly loved one within the confines of a nursing home. However, there are many people that have the opportunity to inflict harm on helpless and defenseless residents of a nursing home.
Employees of the Nursing Home
The people with the most opportunity to abuse elderly residents, unfortunately, are the employees of the nursing home. They know the schedules of the residents, how to isolate and seclude them, and which ones suffer from cognitive dysfunction and may not even remember the sexual abuse at a later time. As horrific as it is, the employees that have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety and care of elderly residents in a nursing home are also the ones that have the easiest access and the ability to sexually abuse them.
Nursing Home Residents
In some cases, the sexual abuse of an elderly resident does not occur from a nursing home employee, but from another nursing home resident. Often, nursing home residents feel confused and may think that a different nursing home resident is their spouse. In other cases, they simply believe they are in a different place or even in a different time period.
The cognitive dysfunction associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can be quite severe. Of course, there are some cases where an elderly resident is fully aware of their actions, and takes the opportunity to isolate another resident to sexually abuse them. Nursing home staff members should always remain aware of all residents and their surroundings to ensure that this type of crime does not occur in their nursing home.
Many different people walk through a nursing home on a daily basis for perfectly valid and appropriate reasons. Some of the types of third-party employees that enter nursing homes include vendors, prescription drug representatives, delivery persons, salespersons, medical care providers, food delivery services, and visitors of other residents. Without careful monitoring and proper vigilance, a nursing home resident may suffer sexual abuse from one of these outside third parties.
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Nursing Home Liability and Responsibility
A family member should remember that no matter who sexually abuses their elderly loved one in a nursing home, the nursing home bears legal liability and responsibility. The elderly resident must receive proper care, safety, and protection from harm while they are a resident of a nursing home. As a family member of a sexually abused elderly resident of a nursing home, you can assist them by bringing a lawsuit against an employee, another resident, or a third party who committed the sexual abuse.
However, the elderly resident may also bring a claim directly against the nursing home for their negligence regarding their failure to ensure a safe and protected environment free from danger for the resident. A New York City sexual abuse lawyer can help your elderly loved one develop a personal injury case against the nursing home for their negligence.
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Who To Contact Following Sexual Abuse of an Elderly Resident
As a loved one of a sexually abused resident of a nursing home, you should consider the following steps:
- Contact Nursing Home Management. Make sure that nursing home management receives immediate knowledge of the suspicion or evidence of sexual abuse.
- Contact 911 or Find Immediate Medical Attention. If your elderly loved one has any kind of physical trauma as a result of sexual abuse, make sure to contact 911 for emergency medical attention, or contact their physician to make a medical evaluation as soon as possible.
- Contact the Police. If you feel that the police need to collect evidence, or that they should have knowledge of the sexual abuse right away, always feel free to contact them.
- Adult Protective Services. Contact Adult Protective Services to establish a case regarding the suspicion of sexual abuse.
- Collect Evidence. Make sure to take photographs, if possible, and collect evidence (such as torn or stained clothing) that can assist your elderly loved one if they make the determination to file a claim at a later time for their injuries.
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Consider Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a Free Consultation
If your loved one suffered sexual abuse in a nursing home, consider contacting our legal staff at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn how a New York City sexual abuse lawyer can assist you in building a personal injury case and understanding your elderly loved one’s legal rights.
Call or text (800) 794-0444 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form