If you’ve moved your elderly parent into a nursing home, the last thing you expect is that they’ll be sexually abused. Sexual abuse in nursing homes isn’t often talked about and there’s not as much research as there is on other forms of abuse. In addition, victims often have medical problems that leave them confused or prevent them from communicating adequately. They may also forget exactly what happened or who hurt them. Even if they remember, they may be too scared to make a report.
Another consideration is that people often don’t believe elderly victims of sexual abuse. They may assume they are imagining things or recalling an incident from a long time ago. The older the victim is, the less likely it is that people will believe them.
The good news is that if you’re vigilant, you may be able to identify the signs of abuse and ensure that it comes to an end. Furthermore, there may be witnesses to the incident(s). In this blog post, we’ll define sexual abuse and pinpoint some of the signs that it’s occurring. Our Florida nursing home abuse attorneys also share some of the steps you can take to get justice for your loved one and other potential victims.
What is Elder Sexual Abuse?
Any action that’s sexual and unwanted or non-consensual and committed against a person over the age of 60 is considered elder sexual abuse. This includes sexual contact with a person who is unable to communicate their disapproval because of dementia or illness. Sexual abuse isn’t restricted to rape. You should contact a Lakeland nursing home abuse attorney if your loved one has been subjected to:
- Unwanted touching
- Forced nudity
- Sexual battery
- Taking photographs of a sexual nature
- Looking at photographs or watching videos of a sexual nature
- Indicators of Sexual Abuse
Your elderly loved one may explicitly disclose what has happened to them or hint that something is wrong. There may also be physical or behavioral signs of abuse including:
- Problems walking or sitting
- Unexplained pelvic injuries
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Bleeding or pain of the genitals or anus
- Bruising on the inner thighs or genitals
- Panic attacks
- Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
- Social or emotional withdrawal
- Inappropriate or unusual sexual activities
- Attempts at suicide
Elderly people can injure themselves or display behavioral changes for a variety of reasons. However, if you can’t find another explanation for their condition, sexual abuse may be a possibility. The perpetrator may be a staff member, another patient or even a visitor to the nursing home.
Dealing with Suspected Nursing Home Abuse
Instead of confronting the staff at the facility, call a nursing home abuse lawyer and discuss the situation. That way, you’ll learn about the legal options available to you. Of course, if you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, you should call 911 so the police and emergency medical personnel can respond. Ideally, if you raise your concern with the staff at the nursing home, they should contact Adult Protective Services or another relevant entity.
This will ensure there is an independent investigation into the incident. A government assigned caregiver will be appointed to talk to the patient and ascertain what happened. If they believe sexual abuse occurred, they will likely recommend that the individual be moved to another facility. They may also suggest therapy and medication to treat certain symptoms.
If you want to be sure that everything is done above board, you should contact an attorney. In addition to simply reporting the incident, you may be able to take civil action against the nursing home.
Contact Burnetti P.A. if You Suspect Elder Abuse at A Nursing Home
If you think your elderly loved one is being abused, don’t hesitate to reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer in Lakeland, FL. We’ll listen to what you have to say, look into the matter, and determine if you have a case for filing a claim against the facility. The victim may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, therapy, and relocation costs. No one should be mistreated in their final years and we will do everything we can to help you protect your parent or relative. The nursing home and the individual who hurt your loved one should be held accountable. All you need to do is call us and schedule a free consultation so you can benefit from expert legal advice. We’ll help you to get justice.