Article Updated: January 8, 2022
Elder Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
I recently investigated the following elder sexual abuse cases, all involving sexual abuse in nursing homes:
◊ Male nurse forced female resident to allow him to shave her private area
◊ Male nurse forcibly checked a female resident’s diaper and groped her private area
◊ Nurses allowed demented patient to roam into victim’s room and sexually assault her
In the first example, the victim remained a resident in the nursing home and reached out for help while still in the care and under the watch of her attacker.
This article will teach you the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse that you should be on the lookout for.
If you suspect a love one is in danger, email or message me immediately using the contact form on this page so I can put an end the abuse and help you save your loved one from further trauma.
Clickable Table of Contents
Elder Sexual Abuse Claims
Elder Sexual Abuse Facts
10 – About the Author
Sexual Abuse of Elderly in Nursing Homes
We place our elder family members into nursing homes with the hope that they can have a safe and peaceful environment to live in.
The last thing that we think about is that they can become victims of sexual abuse or assault.
This is exactly what has happened to many who have placed their loved ones in nursing homes.
How Common Is Elder Sexual Abuse?
Elder sexual abuse is a common occurrence in nursing homes and is not limited to only some parts of the nation or specific kinds of nursing homes.
There have been cases of sexual assault against nursing home residents by employees, by visitors and by strangers who gain access to these homes.
Annually, there are thousands of cases of sexual assault against residents of nursing homes, and the most shocking part is that sexual abuse signs and symptoms in elderly residents frequently goes unnoticed.
This means that your own family member may be suffering from this abuse and you are not even aware it is taking place.
Sexual Abuse is A Growing Epidemic
You might be thinking this is a small problem, and not one that you should worry about.
You would be wrong in this assumption because sexual abuse of the elderly in nursing homes is a growing epidemic.
Elder sexual abuse is usually thought to only be physical abuse but it often means rape and sexual assault that is dehumanizing at any age and is far worse when the victim is weak, and incapable of defending themselves which is the case for most in nursing homes.
Understand Elder Sexual Abuse And Protect Your Loved One
The first step in combating the problem is understanding that a problem exists.
You need to do research to ensure that your loved one is in a nursing home that is safe and that you are keeping an eye out for elder sexual abuse stories that come about regarding the facility your family member is in.
Knowing about existing elder sexual abuse cases can help you make more informed choices, like knowing the connection between nursing homes that accept sex offenders and rates of sexual assault.
Just because assault happens and your own family is affected, this does not mean that you cannot recover damages.
You are not helpless and without recourse in cases of sexual assault in nursing homes. Being informed and aware of the problem can help you navigate the difficult situation of nursing home sexual assault cases and recovering justice for same.
The Truth About Nursing Home Sexual Assault
Sex abuse in nursing homes take place at high rates for many reasons. One is that seemingly, the government and nursing homes are themselves doing little to stop the problem.
The truth is that negligence is at blame in some cases and in others even when the nursing home staff try to bring the problem to light, they are stopped by the bureaucratic arm of these large for profit medical facilities.
Nursing Homes And Sex Offenders
When nursing homes accept sex offenders, they take a risk that places your loved one in danger and ignores that many victims will not be able to remember that something happened to them or be able to identify who hurt them.
When you add this to the fact that sexual abuse signs and symptoms in the elderly are hard to identify, it is clear that nursing homes are failing your loved ones at almost all possible levels of care.
Nursing homes are not as safe as they should be and they too often ignore and downplay when your family members try to voice a concern, accusing them of failing memories and confusion.
Sexual assault and abuse can happen to any of your family members. Despite attempts to ignore or dismiss these claims on the part of the nursing home, you should take your loved ones claims seriously when they say they have been assaulted or abused.
Sex Abuse in Nursing Homes: Evidence & Investigations
How should you proceed now that a loved one has told you they have been assaulted?
What evidence should you put together?
It is important to remember that there is a high burden of proof needed in such cases and the faster you move and the more attention to detail you put in, the better your chances are in court.
Elder Sexual Abuse Evidence
Elder sexual abuse cases are unique in that the victim often cannot defend or even represent or speak for themselves. You will need to make sure you are getting counsel early on before you hit a wall of silence from the nursing home.
Since sexual abuse signs and symptoms in elderly residents are not easy to spot, you will have to be vigilant in identifying any signs and making sure you are always communicating with your loved one on how they are being treated.
If they mention at any time that they have been hurt, assaulted or touched in a manner that was not proper, you need to ask them questions, make notes of names, descriptions, dates and more, so you can put together information before getting help.
Elder Sexual Abuse Investigations
Speaking to the staff and management will be needed, and doing this with legal support can help protect you and make sure you are getting access to all the evidence and documents that can help you.
Remember, nursing homes will delay and slow down any concerns and investigations that you attempt to bring up, because they are reluctant to believe the resident or you.
This is one of the main reasons that moving forward in your investigation with legal counsel has the best chance to see results and for the case to be taken seriously.
Official investigations will include evidence preservation letters, private investigators, digging into corporate records for the facility, and more.
Nursing Homes that Accept Sex Offenders
Sex offenders who have aged also get admitted to nursing homes, but what does that mean for you and your loved one?
Nursing homes that accept sex offenders are placing other residents in harm’s way.
Elder Sexual Abuse Example: Offender Molests 95 y/o Resident
A sex offender who was incarcerated in 2000 after 13 years of assaulting women was admitted to a nursing home in 2010, only to go on and sexually molest a 95-year old woman and grope a health care worker.
You may think that sex abuse in nursing homes places the care facility in a position of liability automatically, but that is not the case.
An example of this was seen in the case of the 95-year old woman mentioned above where the court stated that the liability was not with the nursing home at all.
Elder Sexual Abuse Perpetrators
If you are outraged and confused, you are not alone. Many have fought to make liability against the nursing homes stronger.
Despite this, you need to know that there are nursing homes that accept sex offenders.
Because of this, your family member may be placed at a higher rate of harm because of it.
This is especially true because there are hundreds, if not more, sex offenders in care homes currently.
Sexual Abuse Signs & Symptoms in Elderly
Nursing home sexual assaults have many signs and symptoms that you should watch out for in your loved one.
While not all of them are easy to spot, sex abuse in nursing homes does leave behind some signs that can alert you to a problem, even if your family member does not say something.
Physical Signs of Elder Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse of the elderly in nursing homes comes in many forms.
The most obvious one will be physical symptoms of abuse.
Some of the most common ones that you will see are:
◊ Pelvic injury
◊ Problems walking
◊ Difficulty sitting
◊ Bruises on genitals or thighs
◊ Torn bloodied clothing
◊ Bleeding or irritation of anus or genitals
Emotional Signs of Elder Sexual Abuse
Less obvious signs that your loved one may show are often emotional and can include:
◊ Social withdrawal
◊ Emotional withdrawal
◊ Clear agitation
These signs are harder to spot because they do not leave a physical mark like the symptoms mentioned above.
These signs are just as important and can be a big red flag that something is wrong.
Psychological Signs of Elder Sexual Abuse
Other signs to keep an eye on are serious psychological signs that your loved one has suffered sexual abuse:
◊ Panic attacks
◊ Signs of PTSD
What is the Frequency of Sexual Assault in Nursing Homes
How frequent is sexual abuse of the elderly in nursing homes?
The exact numbers are not known because so often cases go unreported.
What is known at this point and time is that out of the millions in nursing homes, a percentage as high as almost 14% are victims of abuse of some sort.
Out of these abuse cases, nearly 3%-4% of them are cases of sexual assault.
Woman are sexually assaulted in nursing homes at a higher rate with the most common abuse against them being:
◊ sexualized kissing
◊ Unwelcome sexual interest in the women’s body
The biggest problem is that sexual abuse of the elderly in nursing homes is ignored or goes unnoticed, so the full extent of the frequency is often thought to be much higher than the numbers that are available.
In cases where the families were interviewed, there have been rates as high as 40% of residents complaining to their loved ones that some form of abuse has taken place.
Elder Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes Q&A
What is the frequency of sexual assaults in nursing homes?
The frequency of nursing home sexual assault cases are not known exactly, but what is know is that there is about 14% assault rates in nursing homes overall, and that anywhere from 3%-4% of these assault cases are sexual assault cases.
Exact numbers are not known because too often cases are not identified or reported.
How can I identify if my loved one has been sexually assaulted?
There are many ways to identify if your loved one has been sexually assaulted. Some signs are physical in nature like bruising and blood in the genital and thigh area, while other symptoms can be emotional or psychological and present as agitation, PTSD, aggression and new onset of depression.
Are women at higher risk of sexual assault cases in nursing homes?
Yes, women are often at higher risk of sexual assault in nursing homes and are often abused with acts such as kissing, groping and rape.
Who is liable if my loved one is sexually assaulted in a nursing home?
If your loved one is sexually assaulted, the nursing home and its agents can be held liable. Depending on who committed the assault and what efforts were made to secure, respond to and address the situation, management or corporate officials may be liable, too.
Elder Sexual Abuse Lawyer
If you suspect that someone is suffering sexual abuse in a nursing home, you need to get help immediately.
Oftentimes, the victim is too scared to speak up for themselves. They need your voice to speak up for them.
I investigate elder sexual abuse for a living. If a nursing home is involved, that is a focus of my practice.
Let me help you get justice for your deserving family. Submit the contact form below or send me an email for immediate help.
Reza Davani, Esq.
State Bar No.: #1212110211
Federal Bar No.: #30168
Abuse & Assault Legal Library
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Supporting Literature, Citations & Resources:
Rugg, P. (2017). The Puzzle of Housing Aging Sex Offenders. The Atlantic
Malmedal, W., Iversen, M. H., & Kilvik, A. (2015). Sexual abuse of older nursing home residents: A literature review. Nursing research and practice, 2015.
Ellis, B. (2017). Sick, Dying and Raped in America’s Nursing Homes. CNN.
Griffore, R. J., Barboza, G. E., Mastin, T., Oehmke, J., Schiamberg, L. B., & Ann Post, L. (2009). Family members’ reports of abuse in Michigan nursing homes. Journal of elder abuse & neglect, 21(2), 105-114.
Teaster, P. B., & Roberto, K. A. (2004). Chapter 7 sexual abuse of older women living in nursing homes. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 40(4), 105-119.
About the Author
This nursing home and medical malpractice article was written by Baltimore, Maryland nursing home attorney Reza Davani, Esquire. Mr. Davani received his Juris Doctor degree from a Tier 1 law school, the University of Maryland Francs King Carey School of Law. He received his first license to practice law from the State of Maryland’s Court of Appeals (MD State License No. 1212110211), and just four months later received a federal law license from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland (Federal License No. 30168).
Mr. Davani has been practicing law for over 10 years. He began practicing law by helping clients as a sanctioned student lawyer before receiving his law license, and second chaired his first jury trial in federal court before even graduating law school. He is a registered member of the Maryland Association for Justice (MAJ), the American Bar Association (ABA), the American Association for Justice (AAJ), and was formerly on the MAJ’s Legislative Leader’s Circle.
Mr. Davani has taken over 20 cases to trial in state and federal court, and favorably settled well over 100 cases for injured victims. He has personally helped his clients recover over $15,000,000 in personal injury, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse settlements and verdicts in Maryland and other states. He is dedicated to fighting for justice, and welcomes the opportunity to help you.
Elder Sexual Abuse Lawyer Near You in Maryland & Beyond
I can help you anywhere in Maryland, including Allegany County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Calvert County, Caroline County, Cecil County, Charles County, Dorchester County, Frederick County, Garrett County, Harford County, Howard County, Kent County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Somerset County, St. Mary’s County, Talbot County, Washington County, Wicomico County, and Worcester County.
I have helped clients in over a dozen jurisdictions, including California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, and Virginia.
I help injured victims nationwide in all 50 states on a case-by-case basis via Pro Hac Vice.