Sexual abuse in nursing homes in California is increasing. Sexual contact without consent and violent or forced sexual contact constitutes abuse. Many seniors with moderate to severe dementia lack the mental ability to consent to sexual contact. Although the elder’s body is that of an adult, due to the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, the elder’s brain may be more like that of a child. Nursing home residents are weak and defenseless and unfortunately are often easy prey for sexual predators. When a nursing home resident is weak and unable to resist or unable to speak, there is an increase in the likelihood of sexual abuse occurring. Nursing home residents can be sexually abused by a resident, visitor to the facility, or employee. Sexual abuse against an elderly person can be perpetrated in a variety of ways including anything from unwanted touching all the way to an extreme, such as sexual assault and rape.
Sexual abuse can be accompanied by other forms of abuse, including emotional and physical abuse. This makes it extremely important to contact a knowledgeable San Diego elder abuse attorney like Joel Bryant. He and his team will take swift action by reaching out to the authorities to ensure your elder is no longer in harm’s way. He will then assist you in navigating the courts and legal system to ensure that justice is won for your loved one and that the perpetrator is held responsible for their abusive actions. Responding now could be the difference between a happy and healthy existence for your loved one, and serious trauma or even death.
Sexual abuse includes a vast array of crimes carried out by a perpetrator. Sexual abuse can range from non-consensual touch to rape. There are a variety of instances in which a perpetrator’s non-consensual actions constitute as sexual abuse. The following are a multitude of actions that can be found to be sexual abuse against an elderly individual if such actions are carried out against an elder without consent:
There are also forms of sexual abuse that are called “hands off” as they do not include physical contact, however they are still forms of sexual abuse. These include but are not limited to the following:
As set forth above, mental and physical disabilities make elders in nursing homes more vulnerable to sexual abuse. Many nursing home residents are weak and defenseless and unfortunately are often easy prey for sexual predators. When a nursing home resident is physically unable to resist, unable to remember everything, or unable or scared to speak up, there is an increase in the likelihood of sexual abuse occurring. There are many other factors which result in an increased risk of sexual abuse in nursing homes occurring and not being discovered. Such factors include:
Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out that an elderly individual is being abused. A common reason is that an elder is in such a vulnerable state that they are unable to communicate that such abuse is occurring. The vulnerable state may be a result of memory loss, a physical disability, a mental disability, or a combination of these. Abuse may also go unreported by an elder if they have a fear that the perpetrator will lash out should another individual find out about the abuse. It is important that if you suspect a loved one is being subjected to sexual abuse that you have a plan to safely remove the elder from the dangerous situation should the perpetrator realize that others have become aware of their crimes. Abuse may also be covered up by the elder themselves out of embarrassment. Often, an elder’s weakened state allows the sexual predator to make unwanted advances, and because of the elder’s weakness, they are unable to escape or defend themselves, leaving them feeling ashamed or embarrassed. Finally, abuse may go unrecognized or concealed if an elder is isolated and is not frequently visited by a loved one who has the elder’s best interests at heart.
What are the signs of sexual abuse? Fortunately, even though sexual abuse can be well concealed, you will have a much better chance of saving your loved one from a sexually abusive environment should you know what to look out for. There are several indicators that may point to the fact that an elder is being abused. Such indicators include:
Sexual abuse can also stimulate other forms of abuse such as emotional abuse. There are emotional signs to watch out for that may indicate the elderly individual is being abused. Such signs of emotional abuse include but are not limited to the following:
If you suspect that someone has sexually abused your loved one in a nursing home, it is important to contact an experienced elder abuse attorney like Joel Bryant immediately to assist you in getting your loved one to safety and bringing justice down upon the perpetrator.
Sexual abuse is often committed by a person who is familiar with the elderly individual. The perpetrator understands and is familiar with the elder’s vulnerable state and takes advantage of them. This individual can be another resident at the nursing home, an employee and, occasionally, a random visitor or stranger at the nursing home. Often, the perpetrator will be someone who takes advantage of an isolated, demented or other cognitively impaired elderly individual. This means that the people who the elder are left alone with are often the perpetrators of the abuse. Thus, it is extremely important that extensive research is done on the individuals responsible for your loved one’s care prior to employing them to take care of them..
Unfortunately, even the best prevention measures can still result in sexual abuse being carried out on a loved one. However, there are several steps that can be taken to decrease the risk of a loved one being sexually abused. One of the ways in which this can be done is by frequently visiting the elder at their nursing home or other place of residence. In doing so, you may be able to spot differences in the elder’s behavior and body language that may have only been communicated to you through an in-person visit. Also, in-person visits are a way to subtly examine the elder and ensure that their body does not show any signs of sexual abuse. Frequent visits make it more difficult for a perpetrator to cover up their abusive attacks, and, therefore, less likely that these attacks will occur. Should you be able to visit an elderly loved one, it is recommended that you visit at random times to ensure that the perpetrator is not relying on your visits at a certain time to then proceed to commit and cover up the abuse in accordance with your visiting schedule.
Finally, another way to prevent further sexual abuse in a nursing home is to know the signs as described above. Should you be able to recognize one or more of these signs upon visiting your loved one, contact an elder abuse attorney immediately such as Joel Bryant. He and his legal team will be able to assist you in contacting the correct authorities to ensure the safety of your loved one, and then navigate the legal process to bring the perpetrator to justice.
All elderly individuals are vulnerable to sexual abuse due to the fact alone that they are generally weaker than the rest of the population. With that being said, there are elders that are even more vulnerable to sexual abuse than their peers. The first group of especially vulnerable people are those who suffer from memory loss and other cognitive impairment. Whether it be dementia, Alzheimer’s, or another form of memory loss, it is harder for these individuals to recall information, therefore making it easier for their abusers to carry out the sexual abuse without being detected. Another group that is more susceptible than other elderly individuals are elders with disabilities. Whether the elder has a physical or mental disability, or a combination of both, a disability will leave an elderly individual more vulnerable because they either cannot properly recognize or communicate the abuse, and they physically are defenseless and can’t get away from their abuser. Finally, an elderly individual that is very isolated is more susceptible to being abused in a nursing home; thus, extensive steps should be taken to ensure that a variety of family members and staff who have the elder’s best interests at heart check in on them frequently to ensure their safety and well being.
Nursing home sexual abuse must be stopped, and the owners of nursing homes are responsible if a resident in their care becomes the victim of nursing home sexual abuse. If one of your loved ones was abused in a nursing home, contact Attorney Bryant and his team today. It is important for family to speak out on behalf of their elderly family members because many times, elderly individuals are unable to speak up out of fear, embarrassment, isolation, or diseases such as Alzheimer’s that leave them more vulnerable to being abused. Joel Bryant’s experienced team of San Diego elder abuse attorneys can help recover the compensation you deserve, ensure that your loved one is no longer abused, and help hold the perpetrators responsible for their actions. Mr. Bryant and his team have been one of the top elder abuse firms in San Diego for over 20 years and they are committed to helping you navigate the legal process to get justice for you and your loved one. Reach out today for a free, confidential consultation to see if your loved one’s case warrants legal action.
It is important to obtain medical help immediately to document any of these signs. There is an increased risk of infections or internal bleeding for elderly people who experience sexual abuse and not seeking immediate help could lead to serious injury or even death. Any act of a sexual nature occurring without your loved one's consent constitutes a form of abuse. If you suspect your loved one is a victim of sexual abuse in the nursing home please contact Attorney Joel Bryant today at (619) 239-7900 for a free legal consultation. In addition to advising you on the victim's rights to compensation, Mr. Bryant will also advise you on how to involve Adult Protective Services and/or the police to immediately stop the abuse.
“Joel and his team were the help I needed to approach the nursing home that didn’t take good care of my grandmother. With Joel’s help, my grandmother was fairly compensated for the injuries she suffered as a result of the nursing home’s neglect and abuse.”Andrea C.
“When one of the most tragic events happened in my life, Joel Bryant and Jason Julius were there for me when I needed someone the most. They both were very professional, honest, compassionate, and supportive."Brent R.
“Joel was amazingly accessible, by phone, email and often, in person, and still is. He is a professional with an understanding heart, and a sense of humor. I still feel very fortunate to have had him on my side.”Michelle B.