Sexual Abuse in Austin Nursing Homes
Unfortunately, abuse is becoming more common in nursing homes- and sexual abuse is one of the most prevalent forms. In 2009, there were roughly 1.5 million seniors living in nursing homes. Because elderly residents are vulnerable and often ill or their infirmities have made them less able to communicate, they become easy targets for criminals.
Not all nursing homes run employee background checks to the extent that they should. Because employees help residents change, take them to the bathroom or give them a bath, these can be easy opportunities for abuse. Also, sometimes violent criminals are being allowed to reside in nursing homes. There are stories across the country of criminals or sex offenders, with prior records, being allowed into a nursing home and reoffending.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Because your loved one is most likely too scared or embarrassed, or perhaps unable to speak up- how can you know if they have been victimized by sexual abuse? Certain tale-tall signs can be good indications that abuse is occurring:
- Anxiety when a staff member approaches to assist them with dress, using the toilet, or bathing
- Unexplained bloody sheets or clothing
- Unexplained bruising or thumbprints
- Unexplained irritation or redness
- Unexplained bleeding
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Rope burns on wrists or ankles
- Unexplained sexually transmitted disease or infection
- Is your loved one withdrawn or apathetic
- Does he/she get upset, agitated or fearful?
- Have you noticed unusual behavior that could indicate stress and victimization, such as rocking, biting or sucking?
- Has your loved one reported any mistreatment?
- Guilt, shame and alienation are signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and should not be ignored. Other emotional indicators of abuse include anger, humiliation, self-blame and revenge. Residents might want to move or suffer from the same nightmares or phobias.
- Other signs of sexual abuse can include gastrointestinal irritability, genitourinary discomfort, muscle tension, sleep pattern disturbances, psychiatric illness
A recent congressional report cited almost one-third of US nursing homes for abuse, totaling 5,283. More disturbing statistics include the following- 18% of women who are raped each year are sixty years of age or older.
- About 70.7% of older victims were assaulted in nursing homes
- In one-third of the cases, sexually abusive acts towards elders were witnessed by others
- In one study, more than half of nursing home residents who were victims of sexual abuse died within the year
- Of adults who are developmentally disabled- 83% of females and 32% of males are victims of sexual assault
- 49% of people with developmental disabilities, who are victims of sexual violence, will experience 10 or more abusive incidents
Sexual abuse of a nursing home resident can take many forms: unwanted touching, sexual harassment, sodomy, sexual coercion or sexually explicit photographing. A good umbrella definition of sexual harassment is anytime a resident is "manipulated, forced, tricked, or coerced" into a sexual act.
Besides being abused by nursing home staff members and fellow residents, an elderly resident can also be abused by strangers and family members. If a nursing home lacks good security, people can easily walk in from the outside. When a nursing home resident is abused by a stranger, the nursing home can be held liable.
Sexual abuse by a family member is the most common form. Regardless of who is at fault, if you believe that your loved one is being abused within his/her nursing home, you should seek help immediately. Besides contacting police, you should also secure the help of a personal injury attorney who can help your abused relative and family recover from this horrible ordeal and can hold the culpable party responsible. Call Zinda Law Group today to receive the help you are desperately looking for from a Personal Injury Lawyer! We have the resources your family needs to have a fighting chance at a successful settlement.