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The decision to place a loved one in an assisted living or nursing home can become overwhelming and frustrating, especially if you believe that your loved one has been subject to any type of abuse. Recent reports and news stories indicate that sexual abuse in nursing homes is on the rise.
Being aware of the potential signs of sexual abuse in nursing homes can alert you to problems sooner rather than later and make it easier to stop the cycle of abuse for your loved one as well as other residents.
Thousands of cases of sexual abuse in nursing homes emerge on an annual basis and sadly, the vast majority of these crimes are not resolved, leaving the perpetrators to go free of punishment. This is usually because state regulators do not have the appropriate expertise and staff to investigate sexual abuse in nursing homes.
Many complaints filed by family members and victims are ignored altogether. A recent study in Minnesota of sexual abuse in nursing homes identified more than 25,000 allegations of physical abuse, theft, unexplained severe injuries, and neglect in nursing homes licensed by the state. Up to 97 percent of those claims were never investigated.
Prosecutors in that state shared that they usually do not learn of the state managed investigations until months after the abuse incidents occurred, which makes it challenging or impossible to pursue criminal charges.
Many of these investigations can drag on for months leading to a lack of justice for the affected victims and his or her family members.
Your loved one may be unable or unwilling to speak about the circumstances of his or her sexual abuse which makes it even more important for family members to be prepared to serve as an advocate for their loved ones.
Recognize the Signs to Protect Your Loved One
Knowing the signs of sexual abuse in nursing homes may allow you to engage in an investigation and complaint process preparedly. The following signs may indicate that your loved one could be suffering from sexual abuse in a nursing home. These include:
- Agitation symptoms that are unexplained
- Panic attacks
- Bruises of the inner thigh or genitals
- Torn or stained underwear
- Having problems sitting or walking
- Unexplained pelvic injuries
- Suicide attempts
- Emotional or social withdrawal from others especially particular staff members
- Engaging in aggressive, inappropriate, or unusual sexual activities
- Developing an STD
No one should have to suffer because of staff members taking advantage of the elderly, but family members may be the only advocate for an injured victim. Taking action may help curb the cycle of abuse and entitle your loved one to damages.
If you know someone who is showing signs of nursing home neglect or abuse, consult with an experienced attorney at McDonald Worley. The case evaluation is free.