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Elder Sexual Abuse

Seniors are vulnerable to sexual abuse for number of reasons. In many cases, they may not have the physical strength to fight back if they are assaulted or abused. In addition, in nursing homes and other care residences there may be many types of residents placed in the same home, including individuals who have a history of predatory behaviors and sexual assault.

Seniors may feel embarrassed, scared, or so devastated after rape or sexual assault they may have a hard time discussing the situation with others. Unfortunately, the results of silence can be deadly. Sexually-transmitted infections and diseases can wreak havoc with senior citizens’ health, especially if there are underlying health conditions present. In addition, the physical nature of an attack can lead to broken bones, lacerations, and other injuries which may take some time to recover from.

Another challenge with elder sexual abuse in Hollywood and South Florida is that there are damaging stereotypes about sexual violence. Many survivors of this form of abuse are depicted as young and many of the services which are designed for survivors may be targeted for younger people. A senior who has experienced the same violence may not know where to turn or may feel isolated because media images wrongly portray this crime as one which affects younger men and women. In addition, someone who lives in a nursing home may have trouble reaching out to services which exist for sexual assault survivors. They may not be able to drive to a crisis shelter and may worry about placing a call to a sexual assault hotline if they worry someone at the nursing home may overhear.

How can I Know if This Form of Abuse is Taking Place?

There many signs of sexual assault may be taking place in a nursing home, including:

  • Changes in behavior
  • Fearful demeanor
  • Changes in personality
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Loss of interest in regular activities
  • Sexually-transmitted diseases or infections
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Sudden nervousness around a specific caregiver or resident

While these behaviors do not necessarily indicate sexual assault has taken place, they may be signs of a problem and should be checked out.

What Should I do?

Sexual assault and rape is a crime. If someone in a nursing home or any environment has been subject to this kind of violence, they may wish to file a police report and press criminal charges. You can support them in this. You will also want to ensure any family member in a nursing home who has been injured in this way visits a doctor for testing and medical treatment.

Unfortunately, nursing homes do not always respond appropriately to sexual assault. They may not remove a resident who has been accused of sexual misconduct or may be slow to remove a predatory staff member. You will want to speak to a Hollywood nursing home abuse attorney to ensure everything possible is done to keep your senior family member safe.

You may also wish to speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer in Hollywood or your community about pressing civil charges to seek compensation and to hold the nursing home accountable. If you’d like to know whether you have a claim, contact Flaxman Law Group online or at 866-352-9626 for a free consultation. Our experienced and compassionate legal team can explain your legal options.

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