By Jessica pride
November 9, 2022

What Do I Need to Know About Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes?

Nursing homes and residential facilities for elders should be safe havens of relaxation and socializing after a life well lived. What can you do if a sexual predator threatens this safe place?

To take advantage of and sexually abuse vulnerable individuals like the elderly or mentally compromised is a horrific violation of human dignity. If you or an elderly family member have experienced sexual assault, abuse, or harassment in a nursing home or care facility, you have the right to seek justice. An attorney can help you assert your rights, stop the abuse, and prevent it from happening to others.

The Pride Law Firm has combined decades of experience in compassionate advocacy for sexual assault survivors. We know what it takes to secure substantial settlements and achieve victories in court. We understand how much a righteous verdict can mean for survivors — providing relief, validation, and closure. We are here to ensure elder survivors are heard, respected, and afforded the same chance for justice that all survivors deserve.

Reach out to our San Diego offices right away online or by calling 619-516-8166. Our staff is trained to provide the sensitivity that sexual assault and abuse cases require — we will meet you at your comfort level, and help you explore your legal options. The contact you make today could be the first step towards creating a truly safe space for the person failed by their nursing home.

How Common Is Nursing Home Sexual Abuse?

Nursing home sexual abuse may involve sexual comments, pictures, threats, touching, assault, or other forms of sexualized punishment, like humiliation involving nudity. Here are some important statistics regarding sexual abuse in nursing homes:

  • Most nursing home residents are 85 years or older
  • Roughly 72% of residents are female, and nearly 70% of those women are unmarried or widowed
  • Elderly women are 6x more likely to be sexually abused than men
  • Only 30% of elder sexual abuse incidents are reported to authorities, but 70% of those reports take place in nursing homes
  • Geriatric health conditions may make residents even more vulnerable, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and physical frailty

Residents in nursing homes may not have close family members, may not have family nearby, or may have severely limited financial resources. These factors make them vulnerable to predators unless someone is able to recognize the signs and stop the abuse.

What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse?

A nursing home resident may be reluctant or unable to report the mistreatment they experience. Recognizing the following signs of sexual abuse could help rescue them and other residents:

  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Injury to the genital area, breasts, or vaginal bleeding
  • Torn, stained, or bloody clothing
  • New discomfort in walking or sitting
  • Uncharacteristic mood changes like increased anxiety, fear, agitation, withdrawal, or depression

With sexual violence, it is often bystanders who are able to blow the whistle and stop the abuse. This is true in sex trafficking cases with undocumented survivors who fear coming forward. It’s also imperative for those who care for children.

We encourage you — if you see something, say something. This includes reporting possible negligence, such as when a nursing home is allowing conditions of abuse to exist and turning a blind eye to it. There is no harm done in confirming an elderly person’s wellness, and in cases of abuse, you could help save them from unspeakable suffering.

Reports show that sexual abuse comes from a primary caregiver 81% of the time. In nursing homes, that could mean a nurse, administrator, or facility employee like a janitor. Contact us for help at 619-516-8166 — our attorneys can help investigate your case to hold all perpetrators and their enablers accountable.

Where Can I Report Suspected Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes?

If you know about or suspect sexual abuse in a nursing home or residential care facility, you can contact the Eldercare Locator hotline or the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) for the relevant state.

If you have been assaulted or are acting on behalf of a family member, here are important resources for reporting:

  • Contact an attorney: An experienced sexual assault lawyer can help you interact with law enforcement and guide you to relevant survivor resources that can actually help.
  • File a report with your local police: Unwanted sexual conduct is a crime, and reporting it helps create crucial evidence that can be used to prosecute offenders.
  • Inform the nursing home administrator: If the perpetrator acted alone, contact the care facility’s owner/management to get them removed from patient interaction immediately.
  • Alert the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): If the facility itself is involved with the abuse or ignores it, refer to the reporting mechanisms in your state.
  • Talk to a trained counselor: Call a dedicated crisis hotline for sexual assault survivors, and prioritize the self-care you need. Reporting what happened isn’t just about stopping the abusers, it’s also about being listened to, heard, and believed,

At the Pride Law Firm, we have a dedicated survivor advocate on staff who is equipped with trauma-informed care. This means we are trained to help in ways that won’t trigger or re-traumatize you or your loved one. It also means we are aware of the appropriate boundaries you need to maintain your independence, privacy, and comfort level.

How Do I File a Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

A sexual assault attorney can help investigate your situation while protecting your privacy. We can advise you on your legal rights and options, and work with you to achieve the goals you want. That could mean filing a civil case directly against the individual or company that harmed you. Regardless of whether anyone is criminally prosecuted, you can still find justice with a personal injury lawsuit simply by calling our team to get started.

A nursing home sexual abuse lawsuit settlement could cover:

  • Medical bills or mental health care costs
  • Relocation expenses to move to a new, safer living situation
  • Pain and suffering damages, including psychological or emotional anguish
  • Punitive damages, which are fees charged to punish wrongdoers that are then awarded to you
  • Wrongful death damages if the sexual assault causes or hastens a person’s passing

The deadline you have to file a lawsuit over a nursing home sexual assault varies by state. The Pride Law Firm is located in California, where adults generally have up to 10 years to file a sexual assault claim. However, lawsuits that involve businesses like nursing homes, and the security of their premises, may have different deadlines. Reach out as soon as possible to ensure you don’t lose your opportunity for full justice.

Contact Jessica Pride

Nursing homes, much like rehab and psychiatric facilities, are places where people should be protected. The entire point of a residential care home is to provide a safe environment for elders to have on-site medical care, regular check-ins and monitoring, and supervised social stimulation with other residents. To allow a predator into such a sanctuary is unacceptable.

Jessica Pride and the attorneys at the Pride Law Firm have dedicated our careers to helping survivors of sexual assault reclaim their power and see justice done. All are welcomed here, and all are believed and supported. That includes men, women, LGBTQ+ survivors, children, and adult survivors of childhood abuse.

If you or your elderly family member has been violated in a nursing home or care facility, help is only one phone call away. Speak to us at 619-516-8166, or send us a message online. All of your communications with us are 100% confidential. We are here to be the safe place you deserve.

Ready For Your Free Consultation?