The Los Angeles sexual abuse attorneys of the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi are dedicated to representing patients and residents for claims of elder abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse. Sexual abuse to nursing home patients and assisted living facility residents is a form of elder abuse and our attorneys will fight to ensure that victims receive the best representation and results possible.
Perhaps the most appalling type of elder abuse is sexual abuse. Such abuse happens when facility caregivers or even other patients/residents take advantage of a vulnerable elderly individual because they believe their actions will go unreported or unpunished. Even though elder sexual abuse can happen anywhere, it most often occurs in nursing homes and assisted living facilities because victims are often isolated from their loved ones and may even suffer from memory problems or cognitive issues.
Elder sexual abuse is defined as the unconsented sexual contact with an elderly individual, whether that elder expressly states that such contact is nonconsensual, or whether that elder is unable to give consent because of some mental or physical condition. It does not matter if such contact was minor; if it was unconsented sexual contact, it is still sexual abuse. Examples include nonconsensual sexual touching, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual photography, forced nudity, and rape. If you believe that your loved one was a victim of sexual abuse, contact a sexual abuse lawyer in Los Angeles for additional help.
Less than one-third of sexual abuse victims report such abuse, and four of every five incidents of sexual abuse is perpetrated by the victim’s caregiver. Women are also six times more likely to be a victim of elder sexual abuse than men. Friends and family of elderly patients and residents should thus educate themselves about how to recognize and prevent this type of abuse before it ever occurs.
Generally, sexual abuse to elders occurs because the perpetrators think that their actions will not be reported. Coupled with the fact that nursing home patients and assisted living facility residents are among the most vulnerable members of society, these elders are the individuals most at risk for sexual abuse. Women and advanced age elders are among the most at-risk individuals in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Patients and residents who suffer from cognitive issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of memory conditions are also among the most vulnerable.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a legal duty to protect its patients and residents from unnecessary and foreseeable harm. Whether sexual abuse is the result of actions by caregiver or another patient/resident, nursing homes and assisted living facilities should take affirmative steps to prevent this type of abuse, including implementing protocol and accountability measures. Both employees and patients/residents should be screened before employment or admission to ensure that the general population of elders are not at risk. The facility should also be well-staffed, both in terms of number and training, to properly supervise and monitor all patients/residents to prevent sexual abuse from occurring. Friends and family members can also help prevent sexual abuse by regularly visiting their loved one. It is important to frequently check your loved one’s physical and mental condition and talk with them to see if they have any concerns with their care. Again, most abuse goes unreported.
The sexual abuse lawyers of the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi in Los Angeles know that if an elderly patient or resident has been sexually abused at a nursing home or assisted living facility, there may be physical and psychological evidence of such abuse. Indications that sexual abuse has occurred include bruises on the breasts, thighs, or genital areas, unexplained genital bleeding, torn or stained clothing, difficulty standing, walking, or sitting, depression or anxiety (especially around caregivers), unexpected changes in mood, and unexplained sexual infections. It is imperative that the elder’s loved ones stay alert and monitor for any of these signs of sexual abuse.
If you believe that sexual abuse has occurred, contact the local law enforcement authorities immediately. Sexual abuse is a serious crime, and police should help you if you believe your loved one is a victim. You may also want to talk directly to doctors, nurses, and other caregivers. They are required by California law to report suspected abuse. Other options include contacting Adult Protective Services, a Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or the California Department of Public Health for nursing homes and the California Department of Social Services for assisted living facilities. Lastly, you should also consider contacting an experienced attorney for help.
If a loved one has been injured or harmed as a result of sexual abuse in a nursing home, contact the Los Angeles sexual abuse lawyers of the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi. We are here to help you hold responsible facilities responsible for the suffering of your loved one. Contact us today online or at (310) 623-1926.