Sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual acts that are initiated by one of the persons against the will of the other.
Sexual abuse happens not only in schools, homes, and workplaces, but also among elderly people in nursing homes. While anyone can become a victim of sexual abuse, female residents and those with dementia are specifically susceptible, according to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care.
Today, sexual abuse in nursing homes is a major cause of emotional, mental, and physical damage among nursing home residents. If you know someone who has been sexually abused in a nursing home, there may be legal considerations to explore to help hold the nursing home owners and management accountable for their negligence or abuse.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to see how a San Francisco sexual abuse lawyer can help you understand your rights, and move ahead with a lawsuit that might recover financial awards for losses related to the abuse. Call a member of our team today.
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.
Signs and Symptoms of Sexual Abuse
Some forms of sexual abuse inflicted on older seniors can include undesired touching and groping, nude photographs, coerced nudity, rape, sodomy, and more.
Older people may get attacked or assaulted more frequently in nursing homes because of their vulnerability, mental illness, or physical immobility. If you see any marks on the senior’s body or any signs or clues that something’s not right, you have the option of consulting a lawyer to make a case against the nursing home.
Here are some of the common signs that may indicate elder sexual abuse:
- Genital bleeding or pain
- Dark bruises around the breasts or genital areas
- Anal infections or bleeding
- A personal account of sexual abuse
- Intimidating or controlling behavior by nursing home staff
- Sexually transmitted infections
For a free legal consultation with a Sexual Abuse Lawyer serving San Francisco, call (800) 794-0444
The Hidden Nature of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
The hidden nature of sexual abuse can keep an older person from discussing it. It might be difficult or even shameful for an elderly woman to admit to a son or daughter that she is being sexually abused. The victim might feel helpless if a nursing home staff person threatens to withhold food, medications, or other necessities if the secret of the abuse gets out.
The sexual abuse may also never go reported because the nursing home resident is medically incapacitated or verbally intimidated. In these cases, the abuse perpetrator (either an employee or another nursing home resident) can overpower the victim so much as to cause the person to suffer silently.
Sexual abuse victims in nursing homes may include people already suffering from dementia. These people may not understand everything that is happening during an assault and may be unable to communicate later what happened to them behind closed doors.
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Nursing Home Negligence in Sexual Abuse Cases
Residents in nursing homes have the right to be free from all forms of abuse, including sexual abuse, under the Nursing Home Reform Act. If a loved one suffered sexual abuse in the nursing home setting, the nursing home could be held accountable.
There are steps, and precautions nursing homes must take in order to prevent sexual abuse from happening. If they hire staff members with a history of abuse and did not conduct a background check, that is negligence on the management’s part. If the nursing home does not listen to residents’ reports of sexual abuse, that could also be a form of negligence.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to see how our San Francisco sexual abuse lawyer can help you learn more about the evidence and inside knowledge that you need to hold your loved one’s abusers accountable.
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Working with Legal Professionals
Nursing homes are expected to give their residents reasonable care and concern, according to the fees paid for the contract agreement. This agreement requires the home to also have safeguards in place to weed out potential employees who might pose a threat to residents with endangering behavior.
A law firm can bring a lawsuit against a nursing home for negligence if they show negligence in a few key areas. These areas could include:
- The plaintiff expected a level of care and security for their loved one in the nursing home.
- The nursing home did not fulfill that expectation and breached its duty.
- The neglect shown by the breach of duty contributed to the sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, or other forms of elder abuse.
- The abuse resulted in financial losses.
When nursing homes breach these reasonable expectations, a law firm can make a claim for negligence. After taking on your case, a law firm can work to obtain materials from the nursing home to act as evidence. This might be photographs, medical records, testimony from other residents, a copy of the contract with the nursing home, and more. Once the legal team has these items, it can then move ahead in filing a claim with the court.
If you have some hints or clues that a parent or relative is experiencing sexual abuse in a nursing home, you have the option of consulting a San Francisco sexual abuse lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm on what to do next.
Our team of legal professionals can help your family members to gather evidence to show in a lawsuit claiming negligence by the nursing home. We can help you understand how and why the negligence occurred, and show you and the court where the nursing home failed in its duty to provide a warm, secure environment for your loved one. Contact us today to learn more about filing a legal claim against the nursing home to recover damages brought to your loved one.
Call or text (800) 794-0444 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form