If your loved one lives in a nursing home and you believe they are the victim of sexual abuse, you may be able to take legal action. Speaking with a Riverside sexual abuse lawyer will help you understand whether or not your family is eligible for financial compensation. Compensation can potentially include reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for your free, no-obligation 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.
Abuse in Nursing Homes
The qualities that make nursing homes viable options can also create danger for residents. While there are trained staff available to help with your loved one’s medical needs, it also requires you to put a great deal of trust in strangers to take care of your loved one. Sadly, some nursing home residents experience a breach of trust when they suffer elder abuse.
Sexual abuse encompasses a variety of behaviors towards a victim that are sexual in nature and take place without consent. Many elderly people are impaired in some way and are unable to clearly express disapproval of an action towards them. Sometimes physical limitations contribute to the risk of abuse, as they might not have the capacity to ward off the offense. Regardless of your loved one’s physical or mental state, any unwanted sexual actions are still sexual abuse.
The below behaviors and warning signs could be indicators of a form of sexual abuse:
- Pelvic injury
- Bleeding or signs of trauma, especially in the genital area
- Unwanted touching or advances without consent
- Verbal sexual advances without consent
- Sudden depression, withdrawal, or change of mood
- Bruises, cuts, or other physical injuries that are not explained
- Emergence of a sexually transmitted disease or infection
- Frequent complaints about a person or nursing home staff member
If your family member experienced or witnessed any of these warning signs or behaviors, you need to tell someone and seek help. Reporting problematic behavior is of the utmost importance in protecting your loved one’s and others’ safety.
Keeping Your Loved One Safe
Nursing home residents can be vulnerable targets for abuse. Often, abuse goes unreported for several reasons. Mental impairment and confusion can make abuse difficult to report. Someone learning of abuse may think that the victim does not have their facts straight because of their mental state.
There are steps you can take to ensure the safety of your loved one living in a nursing home. You should always be aware of the people you can report signs of abuse to, and do not hesitate to report anything suspicious. Being aware of the warning signs can help you determine if abuse might be occurring. If your loved one is in a nursing home, making a list of those in charge is a good idea in case you need to contact someone regarding questionable behavior.
Many national hotlines are also available for victims to report abuse. Speaking with a trusted friend or family member may help you determine if your loved one suffered abuse, too. Abuse is serious and illegal, so it is also important to alert authorities if your family member is in danger.
If you see any sign of abuse, notify someone immediately.
For a free legal consultation with a Sexual Abuse Lawyer serving Riverside, call (800) 794-0444
Contact a Riverside Sexual Abuse Lawyer Today
According to the World Health Organization, around one in six people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year. If you feel like your loved one is in immediate danger, the most important thing you can do is secure their safety. You should alert a person in a position of authority who can help manage your situation. This could be someone at their nursing home facility, medical personnel, or the police. If you feel like you need to seek legal counsel because your loved one experienced sexual abuse, there is a Riverside sexual abuse lawyer you can speak to. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can answer your questions and offer insight into your potential next steps.
Call us today to get help. Your family could be eligible for financial compensation. This might include reimbursement for medical expenses such as counseling, physical therapy, and treatments for injuries. There is a statute of limitations in the state of Illinois for taking action against nursing home abuse, so it is important to act quickly. You should focus on your loved one’s recovery while we focus on handling every aspect of your case.