Greater attention is being paid to physical and emotional abuse of the elderly (thanks in part to the efforts of government agencies and nonprofits to bring awareness to this issue), but incidents of sexual abuse in nursing homes in California and throughout the country are still largely underreported. Nursing home residents are prime targets for abusive behavior at the hands of caretakers, including sexual abuse: many residents receive infrequent visits from friends and family members, those that do report abusive behavior may have their reports dismissed by friends and family members as delusions or hallucinations, and some residents may be unable to communicate with others at all due to mental and/or physical impairments.
Reports of Sexual Abuse on the Rise
According to information obtained and published by the Miami Herald, the percentage of complaints lodged against nursing homes involving sexual abuse has been on the rise for the past decade. While this data does not necessarily indicate that the number of sexual abuse incidents is climbing (the data might indicate this, but there are other potential explanations as well), it is sufficient to be a cause for concern among those to serve nursing home residents and who are concerned about their welfare.
Signs of Sexual Abuse in the Nursing Home
Unlike physical abuse (which can result in obvious bruises and marks), noticing the signs of sexual abuse may be less obvious. An investigation or further inquiry may be warranted if:
- The resident reports unwanted contact of a sexual nature by either a staff member or other resident. Tragically, in some cases a resident reports abuse to friends or family members only to have those reports dismissed as the resident either being delusional or overreacting. Take reports of abuse seriously;
- Unexplained injuries or soreness to the genitals and/or anus may also indicate abuse. This can include redness, sores, unusual discharges, and/or infections. It may also include reports by the resident that his or her genital area, buttocks, and/or anus hurts.
- Unavailability of your loved one. If the nursing home or a staff member of the facility refuses to allow you to visit with your loved one during normal hours or without an adequate explanation, this may be an indication that the nursing home is attempting to cover up evidence of abuse.
Contact Case Barnett Law for Additional Help
If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of sexual abuse while a resident at a nursing home, your Orange County elder abuse attorneys at Case Barnett Law may be able to assist you. We can help you take prompt action to protect your loved one from further abuse and to recover monetary compensation to address the expenses and bills your loved one may have incurred as a result of the sexual abuse. Contact Case Barnett Law right away if you believe your loved one is being abused at the nursing home. You can reach the firm by calling (949) 861-2990 or by completing the firm’s online contact form.