Millions of elderly adults live in nursing homes across the United States. Nursing homes can assist with daily needs, offer social and recreational opportunities, and provide 24-hour supervision. Many families have peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are under the care of trusted nursing home staff.
Unfortunately, not all nursing home residents have a positive experience. Some residents even suffer from abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can completely devastate its victims and their families.
If you suspect your loved one experienced sexual abuse while living in a nursing home, you might be able to file a legal claim against those responsible. In many cases, a Newark sexual abuse lawyer can help victims secure financial compensation for the harm they suffered. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is available to help you explore your options during this difficult time. Call 800-842-6336 to speak with a team member and learn more about what you can do next.
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.
Abuse in Nursing Homes
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms: physical, emotional, financial, or sexual. Sadly, abuse in nursing homes is more prevalent than you might expect. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately one in six elderly adults experience a form of elder abuse while living in community settings such as nursing homes.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice reported that of all U.S. elder abuse cases, nearly 0.6 percent are sexual. While this figure may seem like a relatively small percentage, with over 1.3 million nursing home residents in the United States, this still amounts to a large number of sexual abuse cases annually.
Even a single case of sexual abuse in a nursing home is one too many. Sexual abuse can completely devastate your loved one and family. While you help your loved one recover physically and emotionally in the aftermath of the abuse, it may also be beneficial to consider your legal options.
For a free legal consultation with a Sexual Abuse Lawyer serving Newark, call (800) 794-0444
Perpetrators of Abuse
The National Center on Elder Abuse defines sexual abuse as any non-consensual sexual contact. Because of the age and incapacity of many nursing home residents, perpetrators of abuse often target them.
Sometimes, abusers target elderly adults due to a physical or mental impairment that creates a vulnerable state that they use to their advantage. While a perpetrator of sexual abuse could be a stranger, they might also be familiar with your loved one or family. Sexual abusers might be nursing home staff, caregivers, visitors, contractors, or even other nursing home residents.
Regardless of who caused your loved one’s suffering, the nursing home remains responsible for keeping its residents safe. If you feel as though your loved one experienced sexual abuse because of the negligence or failure of a nursing home to properly care for them, you could hold the facility responsible for the abusive encounter.
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Examples of Sexual Abuse
You may not always recognize the signs of sexual abuse right away. If your loved one experienced any of the following examples of sexual abuse, you could have a case against the abuser and the nursing home:
- Unwanted verbal advances.
- Non-consensual physical touching.
- Forced exposure to pornographic materials.
- Rape or sodomy.
- Any other verbal or physical unwanted sexual behavior.
Sexual abusers violate victims in many ways. If your loved one had any unpleasant or non-consensual experience of a sexual nature, you might want to discuss your case with a Newark sexual abuse lawyer. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free case review.
Warning signs of abuse can include both physical and emotional symptoms, including:
- Bruises around the breasts or genitals
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections
- Complaints about a staff member
- Sudden changes in personality
- Unexplained weight loss
If you suspect any unusual behavior or think your loved one could be in danger, you should immediately report your suspicions to nursing home management and law enforcement.
Effects on Victims
Sexual abuse can completely change a victim’s life, regardless of their age. Some victims of sexual abuse require years of expensive therapy and may never fully recover. The physical and emotional effects of abuse can even be life-threatening in severe cases.
If you think your loved one may have suffered sexual abuse while living in a Newark nursing home, it is also important to remember that you might have legal options. If you would like to learn more about the legal actions available to your family during this difficult time, you can discuss your case with a nursing home abuse lawyer.
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Potentially Recoverable Compensation
If another party has caused your loved one’s suffering by abusing them sexually, you could have grounds for a legal claim. Victims of nursing home abuse and their families could receive financial compensation in many cases for legal fees, medical expenses, moving costs to another facility, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and more. Speaking with a Newark sexual abuse lawyer could help you better understand the complex legal system and the options available to your family on behalf of your loved one.
The Nursing Home Reform Act
The federal Nursing Home Reform Act requires facilities to care for residents in an appropriate manner. If your loved one was the victim of sexual abuse, a court could find that the abuse violated federal law, providing you grounds for a legal claim.
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Contact Us Today
Sexual abuse is a very serious crime that is both immoral and illegal. Victims of sexual abuse can suffer in several ways, and their life may be changed forever. It is a sad reality that perpetrators sometimes target elderly adults, like those living in nursing homes, for abuse.
If your loved one suffered from sexual abuse, they deserve justice. The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can answer your questions and discuss your case. NJ Revised Statute § 2A:14-2 sets the statute of limitations in New Jersey for personal injury lawsuits at two years, so you will want to keep that in mind while considering whether to take legal action. Call 800-842-6336 to speak with a team member and schedule a free consultation today.