When searching for a reputable nursing home for our loved ones, we consider factors like cleanliness, staff skill, and amenities. What we may not consider is whether our loved one could be sexually abused there. Sadly, sexual abuse is widespread in nursing homes.
The physical and psychological damage of being attacked in this way can change a victim’s life forever. Our firm wants to hold abusers accountable by helping victims file sexual abuse claims or lawsuits. Filing these claims or lawsuits can also help keep others safe by shining a light on abusers’ behavior. Victims may also receive financial compensation that can help them secure a different living situation and access counseling or other care they need.
Get in touch with a nursing home sexual abuse lawyer serving Baltimore, (410) 698-1717 for a free case evaluation.
Because sexual abuse tends to be underreported, it’s difficult to say just how big of a problem it is in American nursing homes. However, a Kentucky survey found that nearly 10% of nursing home abuse reports concerned sexual assault. Also, federal reports list around 1,000 cases of nursing home sexual abuse each year.
Abusers may be nursing home staff or co-residents. Sometimes, abuse happens with consent, but any sexual relationship between an elder and their caregiver is still abusive due to the power differential between the two. Other times, abuse happens when an elder is tricked or manipulated into unwanted sexual contact or when an elder is not able to consent to sexual contact. Every facility has the responsibility to oversee its employees and provide proper monitoring for patients to ensure they are not targeted.
Signs of Sexual Abuse in Elders
If your loved one is being abused by someone who is responsible for their care, they may be afraid to report the issue. However, abuse causes physical and psychological damage, and you may be able to spot signs of this damage or related signs of abuse. If you notice any signs and believe your loved one is being abused or if you’re a victim of abuse, you must contact the authorities right away.
Physical signs of sexual abuse include:
- Injury, irritation, or infection affecting the genitals and/or the oral and breast areas
- Genital pain or itching
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Torn, stained, or bloody clothing, especially underwear
- Any STDs
As a family member, you may be much more likely to see the behavioral effects of rape or sexual assault. Since elders–especially those in nursing homes–may be more physically and emotionally vulnerable, they may have a trauma response that significantly changes their behavior.
Behavioral changes in victims of sexual assault can include:
- Depression or withdrawal from normal activities
- A substance use disorder
- An eating disorder
- Self-destructive behavior
- Sudden fear and avoidance of certain people, genders, or situations
- Unwillingness to undergo medical examination
- Avoidance of physical contact
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Unusual bad behavior, aggression, or delinquency
- Inappropriate sexual language or behaviors
- Regressive behaviors (immature or age-inappropriate behaviors in response to stress or strain)
- A decline in peer relationships and in participation in social activities
- Extreme non-compliance or over-compliance
- Wearing more layers of clothing than usual
Shame is unfortunately common among assault victims, so your loved one may try to avoid answering your questions. It may help to reassure them that you believe people who report abuse; that being assaulted does not make a person weak or bad; and that you want to help make sure anyone who is hurting them is removed from their life and held accountable.
Who Is Typically Involved in Sexual Abuse?
There is no one characteristic that identifies those who are likely to sexually abuse someone or that identifies those they will likely target. However, studies have found trends for both groups.
Risk factors for sexual abuse involve being:
- Over the age of 70
- Heavily dependent on assistance
- In cognitive decline or mentally disabled
- Physically weak or disabled
- Aggressive or violent
- Mostly alone, with hardly any visitors
Those who are more likely to sexually abuse elders are:
- Male caregivers
- Past abusers or criminals
- People struggling with alcohol or substance use disorders
- People suffering from dementia, which can lead to an increase in inappropriately sexual or violent behavior
Abusers may intimidate those they assault to try to prevent them from reporting their abuse to anyone who could put an end to it. Helping your loved one escape an abuser may make them more willing to name the person who assaulted them.
Preventing Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
At Brown & Barron, LLC, we believe that preventing sexual abuse in nursing homes is of utmost importance. We are committed to advocating for the safety and well-being of all residents in Baltimore, MD and surrounding areas. Here are some steps that nursing homes can take to prevent sexual abuse:
- Thorough background checks: Nursing homes should conduct comprehensive background checks on all staff members, including administrators, caregivers, and maintenance personnel. This helps identify any history of abusive behavior.
- Proper staff training: It is essential for nursing home staff to receive thorough training on recognizing and preventing sexual abuse. This includes understanding the signs of abuse, appropriate boundaries, and reporting protocols.
- Implement strict policies and procedures: Nursing homes should establish clear policies and procedures regarding resident safety and abuse prevention. This includes guidelines for staff behavior, visitor access, and resident rights.
- Regular monitoring and supervision: Supervision and monitoring of staff interactions with residents are crucial in preventing sexual abuse. This can be achieved through regular check-ins, security cameras, and open lines of communication.
- Encourage resident involvement: Nursing homes should promote an environment that encourages residents to voice their concerns and report any incidents of abuse. This can be achieved through resident councils, support groups, and anonymous reporting mechanisms.
- Collaboration with law enforcement: Nursing homes should establish strong partnerships with local law enforcement agencies to ensure prompt investigation and prosecution of any sexual abuse cases.
By implementing these preventive measures, nursing homes can create a safe and secure environment for their residents, reducing the risk of sexual abuse. At Brown & Barron, LLC, we are dedicated to holding nursing homes accountable for their duty to protect residents from harm.
Fighting Nursing Home Sexual Abuse in Baltimore
Abuse makes targets feel powerless to stop it. However, abused people are not powerless. There are many ways to hold abusers legally accountable for sexually assaulting others. Our team can help you file a claim or suit to do just that.
At Brown & Barron, we understand that discretion and compassion are necessary in sexual abuse cases. Our team provides caring service while leveraging the justice system to help clients push back against abusers.
Filing a sexual abuse charge against an assaulter can help you or a loved one receive compensation. It can also result in an abuser being removed from facilities where they can take advantage of others. To learn more about filing a sexual abuse claim or lawsuit, contact us at Brown & Barron. We can see you for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Contact Brown & Barron online today to schedule a free case review with a nursing home sexual abuse lawyer serving Baltimore.
How a Baltimore Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer from Our Firm Can Help
By deciding to hire a nursing home abuse lawyer from our firm, you’ll be taking effective action toward helping your loved one. Your lawyer can help you identify your loved one’s abuser, and accomplish many other tasks.
Your loved one’s nursing home is likely backed by a large insurance company. If so, the insurer will try to protect the nursing home—and even the abuser—to mitigate its losses. Your lawyer will push back against this and try to prove the nursing home’s negligence.
To support your case and establish the nursing home’s negligence, your lawyer can:
- Investigate your loved one’s incident
- Explain your loved one’s medical records and damages to the insurer
- Hire an expert to explain the records and damages in detail
- Interview witnesses for their explanations of events
- Show how the nursing home staff member was abusive
- Take your case to court
Recovering Damages for You
Additionally, your lawyer will fight to recover your loved one’s (and your) damages. Your damages may include bills for any medical care your loved one requires. Your loved one’s damages could include their suffering and related damages.
If your loved one passed due to injury, your lawyer could claim and collect wrongful death damages. Our firm handles wrongful death cases involving nursing home abuse, and we’ll do absolutely everything we can to help you and your family collect compensation. This way, all of you can recover financially and support yourselves in the future.
Our lawyers are dedicated to helping vulnerable people in our community, like nursing home residents, represent themselves and recover compensation after suffering abuse. These people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and deserve compensation for their mistreatment.
Hear From Our Clients
"Brown & Barron, LLC has to be one of the best law firms in the state of Maryland, possibly the entire country. The quality of their service is second to none. They go above and beyond to serve their clients and get the job done."Eric B.
"The best professional experience I have ever been a part of. I trusted them the entire way, and they exceeded all expectations."Darius L.
"Brown & Barron provided efficient, straight-up, and straightforward services in my medical malpractice case. They answered all my questions and kept me informed every step of the way."D.D.
"After a two-year process, my case is resolved. I would like to commend and highly recommend Mr. Chris Casciano for his diligence, attention to detail, and support for myself and my family."A.L.
"They definitely get the job done in will go above in beyond for the clients I appreciate all the hard work that they have done over the years."Ashley L.
Whether you have questions or you’re ready to get started, our legal team is ready to help. Complete our form below or call us at (410) 698-1717.