According to a study from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, the elderly may frequently suffer as victims of sexual abuse. The study concludes that in order to prevent or quickly detect such abuse, health care providers—including doctors, nurses, and administrators who oversee nursing home residents—must have training in the specific signs that may indicate sexual abuse.
A nursing home that fails to properly train its employees to prevent and spot sexual abuse may have put your loved one at direct risk of such abuse. Our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm wants to discuss your options for pursuing compensation through legal paths. Call us.
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 Among the Elderly
According to a report published by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, nursing homes represent the environment where most sexual abuse on elderly adults occurs.
The nature of nursing homes makes them a potential hotspot for those who look to sexually abuse relatively defenseless victims. The report names three categories of victims living at a high risk of sexual abuse in a nursing home. They include:
- Relatively young residents who require assistance to move around.
- Any nursing home resident with a condition that affects their mental function, especially memory, such as dementia or senility.
- The oldest residents in a home, as their conditions likely confine them to a bed and create a greater need of assistance and create the most vulnerability.
Closely monitoring your loved one may help you take action if you see any possible signs of sexual abuse.
Symptoms of Sexual Abuse in Elderly Adults
When you witness changes in your loved one, pay attention to such symptoms, and act quickly to seek help if you see them.
Some possible indications that your loved one suffered sexual abuse include:
- Your loved one complains about pain in their genital region.
- Your loved one shows signs of trauma in their genital region, such as bruising, redness, or other indications of abnormal contact.
- Bruising occurs around your loved one’s breasts.
- You witness a downturn in your loved one’s mood that indicates depression.
- Your loved one shows uncharacteristic signs of fear and anxiety in situations that do not warrant such reactions.
- Your loved one tells you that they fear one or more specific caregivers.
- Your loved one reports to you that they have been sexually abused.
One of the problems in detecting sexual abuse in the elderly is that many residents of nursing homes lack the ability to understand, remember, or communicate what happened to them. They may also remain silent due to threats from the perpetrator of the abuse.
For these reasons, pay close attention to your loved one’s mental, emotional, and physical state. Do as much investigating as you can if you feel that something unethical or illegal occurred. If you have reason to suspect sexual abuse or any other form of mistreatment, call law enforcement. Afterward, calling a lawyer may help you determine your legal options.
For a free legal consultation with a Sexual Abuse Lawyer serving Berwyn, call (800) 794-0444
A Berwyn Sexual Abuse Lawyer May Help Get Your Loved One to Safety
The number one priority concerning your loved one revolves around ensuring their safety. If you have even an inkling that your loved one lives in an unsafe environment, remove them as soon as possible.
After securing your loved one, a Berwyn sexual abuse lawyer may assist you in pursuing justice on behalf of your loved one. When weighing a lawsuit related to elder sexual abuse, the first question is who qualifies as the defendants in your loved one’s case. Possible defendants may include:
- The person who directly abused your loved one.
- Administrators, board members, and any other member of the nursing home’s leadership, as leaders share responsibility for protecting residents from sexual abuse and other forms of mistreatment.
Your lawsuit may include multiple defendants, and your lawyer may make the case that each defendant proves responsible for the harm of your loved one, including the sexual abuse and its aftereffects.
Harm That Your Loved One May Suffer
A lawyer’s central role revolves around showing that your loved one suffered harm as a result of the abuse they experienced. A lawyer must show the jury why, and to what extent, the defendants in your loved one’s case shoulder responsibility for paying awards to your loved one.
Your loved one may receive compensation for:
- Physical trauma caused by the abuse.
- Medical care required to treat abuse-inflicted physical trauma.
- Mental trauma resulting from the abuse.
- The cost of any mental or emotional rehabilitation that your loved one requires because of the abuse.
Sexual abuse can cause severe stress, as well as anxiety, that may contribute to an overall decrease in your loved one’s health and their quality of life. If a court sees that your loved one sustained abuse, they may award compensation for the economic and noneconomic costs that sexual abuse had on you and your loved one.
Berwyn Sexual Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm For Your Free Case Evaluation
We take on tough cases, and we want to help you get your loved one to safety as soon as possible. Call us for a free consultation with a Berwyn sexual abuse lawyer. You will pay no upfront costs since we work on a contingency-fee-basis and only collect a fee if we secure compensation for your loved one.