What are signs that a nursing home resident is being sexually abused?
Physical indicators of sexual abuse include:
- Bruises around inner thighs, the genital area or breasts
- Unexplained genital infections or venereal disease
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding, pain or irritation
- New difficulty sitting or walking
- Torn, stained or bloodied underclothing
- An elder’s report of being sexually assaulted or raped
Social indicators of sexual abuse include:
- Extreme agitation
- Withdrawal from social interactions
- Panic attacks or emerging post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms
- Suicide attempts
- Unusual behavior between the victim and the elder sexual abuse suspect
Victims of dementia will exhibit anxiety or excessive fear around the person providing or tending to their care. They may also engage in more aggressive behaviors.
Getting Help Once a person has suspicions of, or has identified, that a resident is being sexually abused, get help immediately.
- 911 or the local police
- State Licensing and Certification Agency. This is the agency that inspects nursing homes and investigates complaints.
- Adult Protective Services (APS). In some states, APS investigates reported suspicions about abuse of nursing home residents.
- The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. The local long-term care ombudsman is an advocate for nursing home residents and can assist the resident in getting the help needed.
- Report the abuse to the nursing home administrator.
- The Peck Law Group, APC toll fee at 1-866-999-9085
Contact information for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Adult Protective Services, or the State Survey and Certification Agency can be found at www.theconsumervoice.org. For more information, go to: National Center on Elder Abuse – https://ncea.acl.gov/ National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care – www.theconsumervoice.org National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center – www.ltcombudsman.org National Organization for Victim Assitance – http://www.trynova.org/
See “Sick, Dying and Raped in America’s Nursing Homes” at http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/02/health/nursing-home-sex-abuse-investigation/. See “Challenges When Investigating Elder Sexual Abuse” at https://www.premierlegal.org/a-guide-to-elder-sexual-assault/. 42 CFR 483.12(c ) See “Elder Sexual Abuse” at http://nursinghomeabuseguide.com/elder-abuse/sexual-abuse/. See “Elder Sexual Abuse” at http://nursinghomeabuseguide.com/elder-abuse/sexual-abuse/. See “Abuse” at https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-elder-abuse.asp
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.