Sexual Abuse of the Elderly in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Homes, and Care Facilities
As difficult as it may be to comprehend, sexual abuse is a very real danger to elderly people living in nursing homes in Phoenix and the surrounding area. The abusers may be nursing home staff, other residents, or visitors to the facility. Older sexual offenders who are not required to register because they were convicted before offender registration became the law are often admitted as residents of elder-care homes.
Sexual elder abuse is contact with an elderly person without that person’s consent and can involve, in addition to physical sex acts, such unwanted behaviors as showing pornographic material to an elderly person, forcing the person to watch the performance of sex acts, or forcing the person to undress. It is believed that these crimes often go unreported. When a nursing home fails to protect a resident from sexual assault, it has breached its duty of care, and the victim may have a case to recover for damages, including for the pain and suffering and mental anguish suffered.
What are the signs of sexual abuse in a care facility?
Victims often are unwilling to speak about the assault because of embarrassment or fear of reprisal. Family members and visitors need to be aware of the possibility of the unthinkable happening and should be aware of the signs that indicate sexual abuse may be going on:
- Vaginal or anal bleeding
- Torn or bloodstained underwear or sheets
- Bruising around breasts, thighs buttocks, and genital area
- Venereal disease or vaginal infection
- Fear or avoidance when a particular staff member approaches
- Unexplained difficulty walking or sitting
Steps to take when you discover sexual abuse in a care facility
If you or an elderly person you care about has been subjected to sexual abuse in an Arizona nursing home or assisted living facility, you should report the incident to Senior Protective Services and the police. In addition to having the criminal removed and charged, a victim should consult a nursing home abuse lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona, about making a monetary claim against the home that failed in its duty to provide a safe environment and to protect its vulnerable residents from harm. It is important to select an attorney with experience in nursing home abuse cases, because these cases require careful investigation and documentation, which is best accomplished by a lawyer who is thoroughly familiar with the complexities of proving abuse allegations.
When you need an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Phoenix, call the Wattel and York law firm. We have been protecting the rights of nursing home and assisted living residents for many years and are committed to equal justice for people of all ages.
Call us today for a free consultation and case evaluation. If you can’t make it to our office, that’s okay. We will be happy to come to you wherever you are.