Elder sexual abuse, as defined in the website NursingHomeAbuseGuice.org, “is the initiation of physical or sexual contact with an elderly person, when that contact is nonconsensual or unwanted. This abuse also includes making contact with an elderly person who is confused or unable to give consent.” (http://www.nursinghomeabuseguide.org/sexual-abuse/) Some types of elder sexual abuse include: sexual assault and battery, rape, sexual assault and battery, forced nudity, sexual photography, and unwanted touching.
Sexual abuse is probably the most horrible type of abuse committed against elder residents of nursing homes. Over the last decade, news of nursing home abuses, which also include physical, emotional and financial abuses, have been heard more than ever, yet those that get reported are believed to be way below the real numbers as so many victims rather choose to remain silent or nursing homes, upon finding out of abuses, conceal the crimes from authorities and the public; some facilities even reverse the facts of the crime to make it appear that the ones at fault are really the victims. There are also cases wherein victims are accused of inventing stories just to get attention.
Thousands of nursing homes do not have enough personnel to guarantee that all the needs of the residents will be attended to, much more, that quality care will be provided, yet attention and quality care are what every nursing home facility advertises and promises it will provide. Due to the lack of personnel, nursing home employees always end up overworked and stressed out, thus many turn to abuse and neglect to silence residents and discourage them from requiring assistance, including in daily activities, such as bathing, eating, toileting, dressing, and others. In some other instances, it is just a facility’s failure to check the background of those who apply as nursing home staff; thus many end up hiring individuals with records of abusive acts or those whose mere intent and interest is to receive pay and not care for the elders.
Sexual abuse in a nursing home should be stopped as soon as it is committed. It is for elders’ and other residents’ safety that family members are enjoined to be vigilant of possible signs of sex abuse and to report even the least suspicion; seeking assistance from a highly-skilled attorney may also be able to help prove if an abuse is really being committed and to hold the responsible party accountable.