Sexual abuse in Florida nursing homes should never happen, yet it does, and more elderly residents are victimized because of their vulnerability. Sadly, predators see the elderly who need the care of others in these facilities as easy targets and take advantage of their weakened state both physically and mentally.
If your loved one was sexually abused in any nursing home or assisted care facility, an experienced nursing home abuse attorney could help you seek justice and hold them accountable for their actions.
Sexual abuse of the elderly is a terrible crime that needs to be brought to light and cured. Types of elder sexual abuse can include:
- Sexual Assault
- Coerced Nudity
- Sexual Photography
The Sexual Abusers Who Are Harming Nursing Home Residents
There are three primary groups of people who may sexually abuse residents in nursing homes, and they include Staff members, other residents, and visitors.
Nursing Home Staff
Some sexual abusers take positions in nursing homes because they know they house vulnerable people who they can prey upon without easily being caught. Staff members who do intend to abuse the elderly also know which patients may be the easiest to assault without being told on.
Many residents may be widowed or divorced and happily consent to having a new romantic or sexual partner in their lives. However, when a sexual act occurs between two residents that is non-consensual, the nursing facility should immediately intervene and take steps to protect the victim. The lack of security or supervision may play a role in the assault not being prevented.
Assisted care facilities should have proper procedures in place to prevent unauthorized visitors, but sadly, such regulations are not always in place or enforced.
A Florida Nursing Homes’ Duty of Care
Of all reported elderly rape cases, over 70% of them have been reported to have happened in a nursing home or long term care facility such as assisted living. This is a tragic statistic, but statistics only reflect reported acts, where the non-reported acts of assault and abuse are still unknown and are estimated to heavily outweigh the reported incidents.
This is alarming when you consider a nursing home is entrusted to provide a safe, healthy environment and to provide the care the resident needs in a trusting environment. The nursing home has a duty to protect the residents from staff as well as other residents, and should foresee that these abuses could occur, and take action to prevent it from happening.
This may include detailed background checks on all staff members, to include criminal history and employment history. The facility may also need elevated levels of security or surveillance on property to ensure employees are not engaging in inappropriate behaviors.
When facilities take on patients, they should also do background screenings on them to ensure that they are not allowing a predator loose with vulnerable residents. If the resident has histories of sexual or other abuses, that resident should either be denied or have an active supervised treatment plan and a program to ensure they do not harm other residents.
Visitors should also be screened to ensure they are visiting a loved one, and are not allowed to wander in and out of other residents rooms without the consenting permission of the resident.
Skilled Nursing Facility Residents Particularly Vulnerable to Suffering Sexual Abuse
Dementia and physical disabilities are among the most common issues that victims live with. When a dementia patient is abused, they often cannot form the words to say that they have been abused, or do not have the cognitive awareness to realize they have been abused. Those with physical disabilities often are not able to fend off any assault, and are left to feel paralyzed in the care of their attacker. These patients are often convinced that if they speak up, they will not be believed, or they will be retaliated against with acts of violence.
If you have a loved one who speaks up about a sexual attack in a long terms care facility, by a staff member, a resident, or anyone else, call law enforcement right away, and fall Distasio Law Firm to represent you and your loved ones in the case, with no cost to you unless we win.
Warning Signs an Elderly Person Is Being Sexually Abused or Raped
Some of the many warning signs that an elderly person is being sexually abused or raped can include rapid changes in their personality or sudden changes in patterns of daily routine. These include things such as self-isolation, not wanting to participate in social activities, and becoming withdrawn or defensive when a particular employee or resident comes near them. All of which are red flags that should not be dismissed but seen are alarm triggers.
- Unexplained STDs or other infections.
- Injuries/ bruising to the genital areas, thighs, buttocks, or breasts.
- Pain or bleeding in the genital or anal areas.
- Torn or bloodied clothes or underwear.
- Unexplained difficulty walking or sitting.
What to Do If Your Family Member Is Experiencing Sexual Abuse or Rape in a Nursing Home
If you believe your loved one is being or has been sexually abused or raped while in the care of a nursing home, the first thing you should do is formally report the conduct to the facility. The facility should have the wrongdoer isolated so that they do not have access to the resident and is removed from service until the investigation is complete. When the facility fails to take such corrective action, or if your family member no longer feels comfortable residing in the facility due to trauma from the assault, you should take steps to remove them from the facility immediately to prevent retaliation abuse.
If there are obvious signs of abuse, call the police and report it to the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration. They are then required to report the incident to the Adult Protective Services central abuse hotline under Chapter 415 of the Florida Statutes. Then, get in touch with a dedicated nursing home abuse and neglect attorney like Scott Distasio at Distasio Law Firm for help seeking compensation for your loved one’s damages.
Our Attorney’s Can Help You Seek Justice For Sexually Abused in Florida’s Nursing Homes
If you suspect your family member has been sexually abused in any assisted living facility or nursing home, do not delay in taking action. Reach out to our lawyer at Distasio Law Firm today. Our team of compassionate attorneys have handled cases involving sexual abuse in Florida’s nursing homes for more than 32 years, and are ready to fight for your loved one, too. Call today.