Unfortunately, sexual abuse can take place in nursing homes, especially amongst the most vulnerable groups of residents. While it is almost unthinkable that perpetrators would abuse vulnerable seniors sexually, it is important to watch out for the signs of sexual abuse if you have an elderly loved one who is residing in a nursing home.
Understanding Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is defined as physical and sexual conduct with someone who does not consent or does not have the ability to consent to it. For instance, seniors with mental impairments such as Alzheimer’s may not understand what they are “consenting” to. Below are some instances of sexual abuse:
- Unwanted touching that extends beyond the intimate areas
- Sexual assault or battery
- Taking sexually suggestive pictures
- Sexual harassment
Who is Prone to Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes?
While it is possible for any nursing home resident to be sexually abused, certain groups are more vulnerable to this threat than others:
- Residents with mental impairments
- Residents with disabilities that can make it hard for them to communicate
- Residents who are isolated from other residents and their family members
- Residents who are the victims of other forms of neglect
Perpetrators of Sexual Abuse
When sexual abuse happens, it may not always be perpetrated by a staff member. However, they are responsible for detecting the signs of sexual abuse in a resident and reporting these as soon as they have suspicions. Below are some possible perpetrators of sexual abuse:
- Staff members: Staff members have opportunities to sexually abuse residents when they assist them with bathing, dressing and grooming. It is the nursing home’s responsibility to screen applicants appropriately and take action once an offence comes to light.
- Third parties: Many non-staff visitors enter a nursing home regularly, including vendors, medical care providers and family members of other residents. When a nursing home leaves a resident in a vulnerable position or fails to protect them, victims can have legal recourse.
- Other residents: Other residents in the nursing home may target more vulnerable residents deliberately, or because of a mental impairment they have. It is staff’s responsibility to identify this behavior and put a stop to it.
- Family members: Spouses of residents who are unable to consent to sexual activity due to cognitive impairments may knowingly or unknowingly be perpetrating sexual abuse.
Choose Corradino & Papa, LLC For Your Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Case
If your elderly loved one has been sexually abused in a nursing home, you have legal recourse even if the perpetrator is not a member of staff. Failure to identify the warning signs or take proper action when informed can lead to a legal case being held against a nursing home, on top of the perpetrator. Please feel free to contact us today for a free consultation and we will explore the best legal route you can take.
Disclaimer: Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.