Baltimore Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Whether a Resident or Caregiver Has Assaulted Your Loved One, Our Team Can Help You File a Claim
When searching for a reputable nursing home to care for our loved ones, we consider factors such as facility cleanliness, staff skill, and amenities. What most people don’t think to question is whether their loved one might find themselves at the hand of a sexual abuser. Sadly, this problem is widespread in nursing homes.
Between the physical and psychological damage of being attacked in this way, an abuse survivor’s life may change for good. Anyone who would take advantage of an elder in a nursing home is beyond reproach, and we want to do our best to ensure they are held accountable. Filing a sexual abuse claim can also keep others safe by shining a light on a perpetrator’s behavior. Survivors may also receive financial compensation that can help them secure a different living situation and access counseling or other care they need.
Call Brown & Barron, LLC for a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys. We are available any time, day or night, to help those in Baltimore and the surrounding areas.
How Common Is Nursing Home Sexual Abuse?
Because sexual abuse tends to be underreported, it’s difficult to say just how big of a problem it is in American nursing homes. A Kentucky survey found that nearly 10% of nursing home abuse reports were concerning sexual assault. Federal reports list around 1,000 cases of nursing home sexual abuse each year.
The perpetrators of this abuse may be nursing home staff or a patient’s co-residents. It should be noted that any sexual relationship between an elder and their caregiver is abusive due to the power differential. Other circumstances that constitute abuse involve instances where an elder was tricked or manipulated into unwanted sexual contact or instances where 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
Especially if your loved one is being abused by someone who is also responsible for their care, they may shy away from reporting the issue. However, abuse causes physical and psychological damage, and you may be able to spot signs if your loved one is in need of help.
Physical signs of sexual abuse include:
- Injury, irritation, or infection to the genitals as well as in oral and breast areas
- Genital pain or itching
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Torn, stained, or bloody clothing, especially underwear
As a family member, you may be much more likely to see the behavioral effects of rape or sexual assault. Because elders, especially those in nursing homes, may be more physically and emotionally vulnerable, they may have a trauma response that significantly changes them.
Behavioral changes often seen among those who suffered sexual assault include:
- Depression or withdrawal from normal activities
- Substance use disorders
- Eating disorders
- 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
- Decline in peer relationships and participation in social activities
- Extreme non-compliance or over-compliance
- Wearing more layers of clothing than normal
Shame is unfortunately common among assault survivors, meaning 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 perpetrate sexual abuse or 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 likely to sexually abuse elders are more likely to be:
- Male caregivers
- Past perpetrators of abuse or even criminals
- Struggling with alcohol or substance use disorders
- Suffering from dementia, which can lead to an increase in inappropriately sexual or violent behavior
Abusers may take steps to intimidate those they assault so their identity and reports of their behavior do not reach 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.
Fighting Nursing Home Sexual Abuse in Baltimore
The worst part of abuse is that it makes its targets feel powerless to stop it. This is not true—it’s a fiction abusers present to protect themselves. There are methods to hold them legally accountable for sexually assaulting others. Our team can help you file a suit to do just that.
We understand the discretion and compassion necessary in these cases, especially if one has been heavily traumatized. Our team provides caring service while leveraging the justice system to help clients push back against wrongdoers.
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 situations where they can take advantage of others. The law can make a difference, and we are on your side in fighting for a better world.
Brown & Barron, LLC offers free and confidential consultations. Call our Baltimore nursing home sexual abuse lawyers any time at (410) 698-1717 if you are looking for assistance.
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