By definition, sexual abuse is when an individual is made the target of non-consensual sexual contact with another person. Though it may be difficult to conceptualize, the sexual abuse of elders has been reported to occur in care facilities across the state of California. Obviously, this is an unacceptable situation. Read on to discover what sexual abuse of an elder may look like and how a seasoned California elder abuse lawyer at Cowdrey & Jenkins LLP can help you detect these warning signs.
Why might sexual abuse occur in a care facility?
Evidently, the elderly are part of a significantly vulnerable population in our society. And it is an unfortunate truth that some individuals attempt to take advantage of their vulnerability, even those who are supposed to nurture them in a care facility. That is, nurses and other care facility staff sometimes take advantage of the elderly and make them victims of physical, mental, and notably, sexual abuse.
Further, elderly groups who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other debilitating mental condition are often made the targets of sexual abuse. This is because their mental conditions inhibit them from fully grasping the gravity of the situation, or even remembering the situation long enough to report it. This is why, if your loved one resides in a care facility, you must be their eyes and ears when it comes to spotting any type of abuse or negligence.
What do signs of sexual abuse of elders look like?
There are many different warning signs of sexual abuse, some more obvious than others. Nonetheless, when visiting or speaking with your loved one, you should look for the following indications:
- Your loved one has physical injuries in their private areas (i.e., bruising or bleeding).
- Your loved one has dirty undergarments (i.e., bloody, stained, or ripped).
- Your loved one has a sexually transmitted disease that they cannot explain.
- Your loved one has an infection that they cannot explain.
- Your loved one expresses that they have irritation or pain when urinating or moving bowels.
- Your loved one expresses anxiety about bathing or using the restroom.
- Your loved one is having mood swings or sudden changes in personality.
- Your loved one is having frequent panic attacks.
- Your loved one is showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Your loved one is showing signs of fear around certain nurses or care facility staff.
So once you receive the slightest indication of any of the above warning signs, you must begin reporting it to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman CRISISline, the California Department of Public Health, the care facility, and/or local law enforcement. You may even want to take it a step forward and file an elder abuse claim. For this, you must retain the services of a competent California elder abuse lawyer. Call us today.