Sexual assault is one of the worst things that can happen to someone, yet many don’t see it as a likely risk in a nursing home. We tend to assume that nobody is going to target the elderly for this kind of abuse. Unfortunately, there are very sick people in the world who will target the some of the most vulnerable members of our society for sexual assault. Further, the types of predators who want to do this are likely to seek jobs where they can do so with ease. This means that it is very possible that a predator could be working as a nurse, an aide, or other staff member in your loved ones Charleston, South Carolina, nursing home facility. The risk is compounded by the fact that nursing home residents are often lacking the cognitive functioning and memory to express what has happened to them or to name their attacker. This is why it is so important to know what signs to look for and stay aware.
Disabled Elderly Nursing Home Residents are at Greatest Risk of Being Sexually Assaulted
Because of their vulnerability, the most disabled nursing home residents are at the greatest risk of being sexually assaulted. If your loved one does not have serious memory or cognitive symptoms, then they are likely to be able to tell you if something happens to them. This is why they are less likely to be a victim, because the attackers know this. If your loved one has any kind of physical or mental disability, including issues that prevent them from communicating effectively, or issues like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, then your loved one is at much greater risk of being sexually abused.
Statistics on Elderly Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes in the United States
We want to talk about the statistics associated with elderly sexual abuse in nursing homes in United States to make sure that you understand that the threat is real. Statistics reveal that close to 20% of women who are raped each year are over the age of 60. More than 70% of those victims are sexually abused in a nursing home facility. In roughly one-third of those cases, there was a witness. Keep in mind that these are only the cases that are documented. Many victims are unable to report the abuse or to name their attacker, and the abuse may not be discovered if their loved ones aren’t looking for the signs. For this reason, you, as a loved one, have to be aware of the risk and pay attention to the signs that may indicate that your loved one has been abused in a Charleston, South Carolina, nursing home.
What Signs Should You Be Watching for to Protect Your Loved One from Sexual Abuse?
It can be difficult to know what signs to look for when it comes to the sexual assault of the elderly in nursing homes. This is especially true for those who cannot communicate what has happened to them, the most vulnerable residents of these facilities. Signs that you need to watch for include:
- Bruises or scratches on the arms, thighs, breasts, etc.
- Bleeding, infection, or irritation in the genital or rectum area.
- Difficulty walking or standing, not otherwise explained.
- New fears or anxieties, particularly around staff members.
- Damaged or stained under garments.
- Increasing depression or social withdrawal.
- STD diagnosis.
Of course, many of these signs could be signs of other things, such as worsening medical conditions. Yet, it is definitely worthwhile to investigate if you have any suspicions that your loved one is being abused.
Your Loved One is Not Just at Risk of Sexual Abuse from a Nursing Home Staff Member
It is also important to point out that your loved one is not just at risk of sexual abuse from a nursing home staff member. They could be sexually assaulted by another resident, by a stranger visiting another resident, or by a family member. This means that you can’t just go by how well you know and trust the staff at the Charleston, South Carolina, nursing home facility. Even so, if your loved one is assaulted by anyone while they are staying at the nursing home, then the nursing home could be held liable.
How Do You Report Suspected a Sexual Assault at a Charleston, South Carolina, Nursing Home?
If you know or suspect that your loved one has been sexually abused in a Charleston, South Carolina, nursing home facility, then you can report this by contacting the police. The nursing home may tell you that they are conducting their own investigation, but this is not enough. You need to make sure that the police thoroughly investigate the claim. Those who conduct investigations from within are still working for the nursing home and serving the best interests of the facility more than your loved one.
Filing a Claim Against a Charleston, South Carolina, Nursing Home When Sexual Abuse Occurs
When your loved one has been the victim of a sexual assault in a Charleston, South Carolina, nursing home facility, you need to contact a skilled nursing home abuse attorney to learn about your options for filing a lawsuit. You can expect the nursing home to get a qualified defense attorney and to claim that they are not to blame for the actions of the perpetrator. The reality is that they are supposed to protect the residents in their care, especially those who are at greatest risk. They should not allow any predators to work for them or to have access to individuals who are vulnerable to abuse.
While you can never undo the damage that has been done by a sexual assault, you can hold the nursing home facility accountable. You can recover compensation for the medical expenses, the psychological trauma, and much more in a claim against the facility that allowed your loved one to be a victim of sexual assault.