Sexual abuse is one of the most common types of nursing home abuse. It's unacceptable, it's unsettling, but it's the harsh reality. When nursing home sexual abuse happens, the damages are far reaching. The lawyers at Lipkin & Higgins understand the pain and detriment this type of abuse can have, and the emotional and physical repercussions that occur. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a nursing home sexual abuse assault, know that you have legal options to hold your assailants accountable.
Sexual abuse refers to sexual contact that's non-consensual, such as rape, sexual harassment, inappropriate touching, forced nudity, and more. Often, this type of abuse occurs due to the weak, defenseless state of some of the nursing home residents. When sexual abuse occurs, it's not always apparent to nursing home staff or even family and loved ones. Since the victims are unable to defend themselves – whether that's because they've lost their speech or motor skills – the abuse goes unreported. Even if they can communicate, the victim may also feel uncomfortable speaking about the situation, suffer from dementia, or feel like they cannot confide in anyone. Sexual abuse cases can cause life-threatening trauma and pain, so it's essential to discover any signs that it may have occurred sooner than later.
Below are many of the physical warning signs of sexual abuse to look for:
- Bruising around breasts or other areas of the body
- Sudden difficulty walking or sitting
- Irritation in genital region
- Bloody or ripped undergarments, clothing, bed sheets or linens
- Sudden presence of STD
- Vaginal or anal bleeding
Below are many of the emotional/behavioral warning signs of sexual abuse to look for:
- Sudden fear of a particular person
- Fear of being touched
- Suicidal tendencies
- Unusual fear or anxiety
Sexual abusers can be anyone from family or a resident's spouse to nursing home staff or patients.
If you begin to notice any of the warning signs and believe that a loved one may have been sexually abused at a nursing home, please first speak to your loved one about your concerns, and then contact the proper authorities in your area to have the situation investigated. Once you're sure that sexual abuse took place, you'll need to contact an attorney that specializes in elder abuse cases. Lipkin & Higgins has the attorney you need to fight for your loved one.