Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

nursing home sexual abuseThere are nursing homes throughout Hawaii that care for our elderly. When you place your loved one in the care of others, you are entrusting them to treat him/her as you would, with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The elderly are at risk of suffering various kinds of nursing home abuse in these establishments and sexual abuse is not unheard of in nursing homes.

Many employees in nursing homes are minimum wage employees. These employees usually change jobs frequently. One of these jobs is the Nurse’s aide position. The nurse’s aide assists with bathing and dressing residents, as well as helping them use the washroom. These situations create opportunities for sexual abuse to occur.

Possible abusers

  • Volunteers
  • Staff members
  • Other residents
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Nurse’s aides/assistants
  • Visitors

These abusers tend to choose victims who are weak and defenseless. Residents who have conditions such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and those who cannot communicate are at an increased risk of suffering abuse. Because nursing homes are co-ed facilities nursing home residents are frequently sexually abused by other residents. This kind of abuse usually occurs when staff does not properly supervise residents. If this is the case, you can consider the facility liable for the negligence of its staff by filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit. Any and every nursing home could be a place where abuse occurs despite their expense or reputation.

Preventing elder sexual abuse is sometimes difficult, however recognizing the signs are the first way you can help your loved one. While this is a very sensitive issue, one of our attorneys can help you and your loved one seek the compensation he/she deserves.

What is considered elder sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse is sexual contact with an individual without his/her consent. This contact can be more than physical sex acts, these acts include:

  • Forcing an individual to watch others performing sex acts
  • Showing him/her pornographic material
  • Exposing his/her genitals
  • Forcing him/her to undress
  • Unwanted sexual kissing
  • Fondling
  • Unwanted penetration
  • Sexually explicit photographing
  • Sexual coercion

If a nursing home neglects to screen its applicants properly, the facility may be held liable for that negligence. If the facility fails to train or supervise its employees on the ways sexual abuse presents itself, it may also be held accountable for abuses that occur in the facility.

The signs of sexual abuse

  • Unexplained genital infections or venereal disease
  • Bruises around the genitals and/or breasts
  • Torn, bloody or stained underclothes
  • Genital pain and/or swelling
  • Unexplained anal or vaginal bleeding
  • Unusual inability to stand or walk
  • Genital itching

Emotional signs that may indicate abuse

  • Erratic behavior
  • Depression
  • Detachment
  • Flinching when touched
  • Fearful or scared behavior

What to do if you suspect sexual abuse

As soon as you suspect that your loved one is suffering abuse, you need to take several steps to ensure the documentation and cessation of this abuse.

  1. Contact local law enforcement
  2. Report the facility
  3. Inform the facility
  4. Remove your loved one from the facility
  5. Call an attorney who has experience in this area of the law

Contact Davis Levin Livingston today; we have caring, experienced attorneys who will help your loved one seek the compensation he/she deserves or contact us via our online contact form.

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Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

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