If your loved one suffered sexual abuse in a nursing home facility that you entrusted with their care, you may be entitled to a financial settlement. Sexual abuse in nursing homes is not only immoral, but it is also illegal.
As abhorrent as it is to imagine, sexual abuse can and does happen in nursing homes. Both older men and women can be victims of sexual abuse and assault in a nursing home.
According to a study in Nursing Research and Practice, sexual abuse of older nursing home residents between the ages of 79 and 99 years old typically occurs to clients who are cognitively impaired and frail.
Sexual abuse of the elderly (also known as a form of elder abuse) has not been extensively examined and remains the least reported mistreatment of nursing home residents. This is why it is important that the relatives of a nursing home resident are vigilant and take note if they see any changes and/or unexplained injuries.
Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience not only for the victim but the whole family. The elderly person may feel shame and try to hide the abuse. If you suspect sexual abuse of your loved one, the sooner you act the better for them.
Establishing evidence of sexual abuse can be a daunting and complicated process, especially when dealing with this sensitive topic. Sexual abuse and neglect can be challenging to prove, but you don’t have to take on a nursing home on your own. We can fight for you and your loved one and hold those responsible for these horrendous acts accountable.
A Summit sexual abuse lawyer will advise you on your legal options and help you build a case. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm 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.
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Home Facilities
Sexual abuse in nursing homes can come in many different forms and is not always obvious to the relatives of the resident. Some of the ways an elderly person can be sexually exploited in a nursing home include:
- Unwanted and unwarranted nudity.
- Unwanted sexual touching.
- Inappropriate photography.
There are several other ways an older person can be a victim of sexual abuse. Regardless of the type of sexual abuse your loved one suffered, we want to help.
For a free legal consultation with a Summit Sexual Abuse Lawyer serving Summit, call (800) 794-0444
Signs of Sexual Abuse
When you entrust your loved one to a nursing home, you rightfully expect the facility to care for your relative to a high standard and keep them safe from harm. Unfortunately, sexual abuse happens in nursing home facilities, with the most vulnerable residents seen as easy targets by sexual predators.
Sometimes, an elderly person will report the sexual abuse or rape to their relatives or a person they trust. Unfortunately, the victim may stay silent due to embarrassment or shame.
The elderly abuse victim may simply be too frail or too cognitively impaired to be able to articulate what has happened to them. They might also be afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation, especially if the abuser is a caregiver responsible for their daily care.
However, even if the resident is non-verbal, there are some signs pointing to sexual abuse, including:
- Unexplained venereal disease or infections.
- Bruises on or around the genital area or the breasts.
- Vaginal or anal soreness and bleeding that is not the result of a medical condition.
- Psychological changes such as anxiety and depression.
- A new difficulty with walking and sitting.
Many of these signs are easily mistaken for other conditions and missed by caregivers and relatives of a nursing home resident. Investigating any of these warning signs in a timely manner is important, as well as documenting any evidence of sexual abuse. It can be challenging to prove sexual abuse especially if nursing home residents have only limited ability to express themselves.
Finding signs of sexual abuse on the body of your loved one or listening to them reporting sexual abuse can be very upsetting. You may not know what to do next. Suspected sexual abuse is a sensitive matter and needs timely investigation. You have all of the right to stop suspected abuse perpetrated against your loved one. A Summit sexual abuse lawyer can help you. We understand your concerns and can answer your most pressing questions regarding nursing home abuse. We can also advise you on the next steps to take after discovering sexual abuse. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.
Summit Summit Sexual Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
A Summit Sexual Abuse Attorney Can Help You Hold the Nursing Home Liable
Nursing homes have a duty of care to their residents, and families can—and should—hold them liable when their family member suffers sexual abuse on their property. There are several laws on a state and federal level that protect nursing home residents from neglect and abuse.
Under Illinois Statutes § 210 ILCS 45 (also referred to as the Nursing Home Care Act) there are mandatory requirements that nursing home facilities must follow, including not engaging in any forms of elder abuse such as sexual abuse and neglect.
Under Illinois Statutes § 210 ILCS 30 the Illinois Department of Public Health will do its due diligence to protect residents and prevent more harm when any form of elder abuse within a nursing home facility is reported to the department.
Pertaining to the safety of residents, the state of Illinois has a community responsibility to respond to sexual assault allegations and deaths under Illinois Statutes § 210 ILCS 28.
Likewise, the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, a federal law, establishes care standards for nursing homes for the protection of the residents. Among other responsibilities, the act mandates that the nursing home must protect each resident and ensure that they are free of abuse at the facility.
The nursing home may have breached their duty of care, whether staff or a third party is responsible for the sexual assault. A third party can be, for example, another resident of the nursing home, a resident’s relatives, or third-party contractors working within the nursing home. Let a Summit sexual abuse lawyer guide you through the legal process of pursuing compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering and other related damages.
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The Team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help
We understand how devastating and shocking the sexual abuse of a loved one is for the entire family. You want the best for your parent or spouse and it can be a shock to find out that they suffered exploitation and abuse.
Our team can help you and your loved one. We can explain the legal issues surrounding nursing home sexual abuse and the options you have for filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Proving sexual abuse can be lengthy and complicated, having to collect and interpret evidence such as medical reports and physician’s opinions. Let us help you with the paperwork and the details.
Nothing can change the hurt your loved one suffered. You may be able to recover an award that helps with medical bills and compensate for the mental and physical pain your loved one suffered.
A Summit sexual abuse attorney can help you determine your legal options for protecting your elderly loved one. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today. There is no risk for you as we offer free consultations and charge no attorney’s fees unless we win your case.