Although it may be hard to believe, sexual abuse does occur in a nursing home environment. It is difficult to know how frequently it occurs, as it is one of the most underreported forms of abuse among the elderly. However, it is a problem that needs to be addressed.
If your loved is a victim of sexual abuse in their nursing home facility, you must stand up for the resident’s rights. Ignoring sexual abuse does not make it disappear. Instead, it can lead to long-term physical and emotional problems for the victim.
Count on a nursing home sexual abuse lawyer to fight for the victim. Using a trusted firm, such as Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, can give you peace of mind in a situation as upsetting as this one. Call us today at (800) 201-3999 for a free consultation.
Defining Sexual Abuse
According to the majority of state laws, the legal definition of sexual abuse is the act of one person forcing sexual contact on another person without their consent.
There are multiple situations that fit under the definition of sexual abuse, according to the law. They include:
- Touching in a sexual manner.
- Exposing genitals to residents.
- Forcing a resident to touch the abuser sexually.
- Forcing a resident to look at pornography.
- Forcing a resident to watch the abuser touch himself in a sexual manner.
- Recording photos or videos of a resident when partially or fully nude.
Depending on the state you live in, there may be additional acts that constitute sexual abuse under the law.
Reporting Sexual Abuse
Because of the sensitive nature of this type of abuse, victims may be reluctant to report it. It may be embarrassing or traumatic, so the victim may choose to ignore the abuse, hoping it stops on its own.
Nursing home residents have the right to engaging in sex willingly with another partner. However, if one person is unwilling or is unable to understand what is happening because of a mental condition, sexual abuse is occurring.
Anyone who witnesses or hears of sexual abuse in a nursing home must report it to law enforcement. Nursing home residents may be unable to stop the abuse, relying on a third party to help them by reporting it to authorities.
Seeking Legal Help
Victims of sexual abuse deserve to receive financial awards for any pain and suffering they have undergone. The victim may have medical bills for therapy or medical care. By hiring a nursing home sexual abuse lawyer, the victim will have an advocate to help seek compensation.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm as soon as possible at (800) 201-3999. We are ready to begin working on your behalf immediately, gathering facts and preparing the case.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-201-3999
Vulnerable Residents in a Nursing Home
A sexual abuse offender may target residents of a nursing home because of their vulnerability. An elderly person may not have the physical strength to fight back against or to resist an attacker.
Because elderly nursing home residents need frequent one-on-one help with daily activities, a sexual predator may seize an opportunity to create an abusive situation.
Identifying Vulnerable People in the Elderly Population
Sexual predators may target a certain type of resident in the nursing home. Commonly, these vulnerable elderly residents include:
- Those with mental illnesses: where dementia patients or patients with other forms of mental impairment are particularly vulnerable to a sexual predator.
- Socially isolated residents: where the resident may not have family regularly checking on him or her.
- Disabled residents: where the victim may not have the ability to speak to report sexual abuse.
- Females: where sexual abusers consider females physically weaker than males, so there is less chance of them fighting back.
- Residents already being abused: where a sexual abuser may start by emotionally or physically abusing residents, eventually beginning to sexually abuse them.
If the abuser knows a particular resident does not have the mental capacity to report the incident or may not seem credible if they report it, the abuser may target that resident.
Sexual Predators in a Nursing Home
People who commit sexual abuse against residents in a nursing home could include almost anyone, including:
- Other residents
- Paid staff members
- Visitors to the nursing home
- Spouses visiting a disabled spouse
Putting a Stop to Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse of a person of any age is a terrifying crime for the victim, and nursing home residents are no different.
You may notice the elderly victim in a sexual abuse situation start to withdraw from loved ones and friends. They may choose to spend time alone because of embarrassment or a feeling of worthlessness. Some victims may even attempt to commit suicide.
Additional signs of a potential sexual abuse case include:
- Heightened fear of being left alone.
- Bouts of sleeplessness.
- Sudden onset of nightmares.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, including panic attacks and emotional distress.
Family members who visit the resident on a regular basis may be able to spot some of these signs. The changes in emotional behavior and well-being can occur suddenly. A family member may notice the difference during visits just a few days apart.
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Trust Us to Protect Your Loved One’s Rights
Always report any suspicion of sexual abuse to the proper authorities immediately, including law enforcement and the nursing home administration. This is a serious crime, and police officers should investigate it as such.
If you believe the nursing home is not taking your concerns seriously, it may be time to hire a nursing home sexual abuse lawyer. Count on Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to protect your loved one. Call us today at (800) 201-3999 to discuss the facts in your case.
We work on a contingency fee basis. This means we will not accept payment until we have reached a satisfactory settlement in the case. We know how to fight for your rights if the case goes to court.