At the beginning and again near the end of our lives, we are at our most vulnerable. We are dependent on others to fill our needs and to protect us. Sometimes, those who are responsible for our well-being fail to keep us safe.
The residents in nursing homes are at varying levels of health and mobility and depend on caregivers who are paid to look after them. Many of these caregivers see their job as a calling and treat their charges with love and kindness—some do not.
Perhaps due to staff shortages, insufficient time to thoroughly check out applicants’ backgrounds, or some other weakness in the system, some individuals who are hired to care for nursing home residents should never have been allowed near such a vulnerable population. Either by not paying close enough attention or by their own direct actions, these caregivers have subjected residents to various forms of abuse—physical, emotional, financial…and sexual.
Elder sexual abuse, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), is “non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly person” or [s]exual contact with any person incapable of giving consent.” The NCEA further states that this includes “unwanted touching, all types of sexual assault or battery, such as rape, sodomy, coerced nudity, and sexually explicit photographing.” Examples of sexual abuse also include non-touching acts, such as when a nursing home employee, a guest, or another resident exposes himself to a resident.
How Bad Is the Problem?
Each year, thousands of senior nursing home residents are sexually abused. Marquette Elder’s Advisor (Volume 8, Issue 1) states that sexual abuse is the least detected, least reported, and least acknowledged type of abuse suffered by elderly residents in nursing homes. The National Elder Abuse Incident Study reveals that only three percent of all reported cases of abuse are of a sexual nature. But the Advisor suspects that because definitions of elder sexual abuse vary by jurisdiction, incidents are “grossly underreported.” The results of studies vary in their reported cases of elder sexual abuse, ranging from less than one percent to 8.8 percent of all reported cases of abuse.
Nursing homes are supposed to be safe places, in which residents are cared for by good, loving professionals. If someone you love has been sexually abused in a Kentucky nursing home, call the Louisville nursing home negligence lawyers at Gray and White Law right away. We’ll schedule you for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456.