Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
The statistics relating to sexual abuse of residents in nursing homes is staggering. One study found that 15 our of every 20 sexual assaults reported by nursing home residents were committed by members of the nursing home’s own staff. In addition to staff members, nursing residents must also be wary of other residents who have been known to commit sexual abuse. In some cases, nursing home companies know that some of their residents are prone to sexual assault but ignore that information and accept them into their facility.
Elderly nursing home residents are particularly easy targets for sexual predators since they often lack the mental capacity to report the sexual assault and the physical ability to resist the attack. Quantifying exactly how many nursing home residents have been sexually abused is difficult, if not impossible. However, residents and families need to be aware that sexual assault does occur and nursing homes should be prepared for both prevention and detection of sexual assault. Call David Terry at Terry Law Firm today if you believe your loved one has been sexually abused in a St. Louis nursing home.
Signs of Sexual Abuse in St Louis Nursing Homes
Nursing home corporations are aware that sexual abuse of nursing home residents is a potential problem and must act responsibly when hiring employees who are allowed close access to nursing home residents. Nursing homes should do a thorough background check on applicants, but also determine if the prospective employee is on a list that does not allow them to work in nursing homes. Warnings about specific current or prospective employees must be taken seriously and investigated by nursing home officials.
Staff members are not the only perpetrators of sexual crimes on nursing home residents. Other residents that demonstrate dangerous proclivities must be dealt with to protect the remaining residents. If a resident is well-known as someone that presents a sexual threat to other residents, the nursing home must act to protect their residents. If the facility fails to take reasonable steps to protect their residents from being victims of a sexual assault, it can be held liable for any injuries that may occur when a known or suspected threat becomes reality.
Common Signs of Sexual Abuse In Nursing Home Residents
- Statements by residents insinuating or hinting that an assault may have occurred.
- Reports that another resident has been a victim of abuse.
- Genital trauma and sensitivity.
- Diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease.
- A display of shame or embarrassment when asked about physical signs of abuse.
- Fear or strong feelings toward a particular staff member.
- Change in personality.
- Depression and crying.
- Caregiver is overly forward or intrusive when providing personal care.
How To Protect Your Loved One From Sexual Assault
The sexual assault of a vulnerable nursing home resident is a vile act. Not only do the victims suffer physical and emotional scars related to the assault, family members suffer from guilt and other negative emotions. To protect your loved one from becoming the victim of a sexual assault in a nursing home, you have to be both proactive and reactive.
- Most sexual assaults occur at night. Visit your loved one at different times, including occasional visits in the middle of the night. Don’t be predictable.
- If the door to your family member’s room is closed when it shouldn’t be, don’t be afraid to “barge in”.
- Know by name all employees with access to your loved one.
- Watch for evidence of other residents who may be sexually inappropriate.
- Talk to the facility administrator about whether proper criminal background checks were accomplished on all staff members.
- Regularly check your family member for unexplained bruising or redness around the breasts and genitals.
- Report all bruises and get documented explanations for each.
- If possible, talk with your loved one about concerns related to specific individuals.
- Discuss all concerns with facility management, request changes, and follow up to insure changes are implemented.
- Report all concerns in writing.
As amazing as it seems, some nursing homes will cover up sexual assaults that happen in their facilities. Rather than demonstrate concern and seek justice for the victim, many nursing homes will destroy evidence and cover up crimes that have happened on their own property in an effort to avoid civil liability. If your loved one has been sexually assaulted while in a nursing home, keep in mind that you may have to take the lead on pursuing justice because the nursing home is looking out for itself.
Signs of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
If Your Family Member has Been Sexually Assaulted, Act Fast:
- Call the police IMMEDIATELY.
- Make sure all evidence is secured and not destroyed.
- Don’t let sheets or clothes worn during the assault be washed.
- Make sure the room is not cleaned. Make sure resident is not bathed before being examined by a physician.
- Get resident to a hospital as soon as possible.
- Ask police to do an independent investigation and get independent witness statements. Don’t rely on the nursing home to do this because they will try to keep the investigation and witness statements private.
- Call the state agency responsible for monitoring nursing homes
- In Illinois, call 1-800-252-4343
- In Missouri, call 1-800-392-0210
How Our St. Louis Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Help
Attorney David Terry has successfully represented victims of nursing home abuse and neglect throughout Missouri including victims of sexual assault and rape. If your family member or loved one has been sexually abused while under the care of a nursing home, contact the Terry Law Firm at (314) 593-2438 to discuss their injuries and legal rights. The call is free and there is no obligation