Nursing home sexual abuse is inflicted on our vulnerable elderly population more often than we would like to admit. Nursing home sexual abuse happens when a caregiver or other staff violates the trust that they were given to care for an elderly person and takes advantage of that person sexually. The elderly are more likely to be abused because they are often vulnerable, easy targets. Compounding the problem, the perpetrators may feel that they have a better chance of getting away with the crime because the victim is isolated from their family or is easily confused. Family members should familiarize themselves with the signs of elder abuse.
Nursing home sexual abuse statistics
- 70 percent of reported abuse takes place in nursing homes.
- Only 30 percent of victims of elder sexual abuse report it to authorities.
- The abuser is the primary caregiver in 81 percent of elder sexual abuse cases.
- Elderly women are six times more likely than men to be sexually abused.
- A study of Medicaid fraud reports found that almost 10 percent of nursing home abuse cases involved sexual assault.
- Because residents in long-term care settings have a high rate of dementia and disabilities, they are especially vulnerable to abuse, neglect and exploitation. People with disabilities are 1.5 to 5 times more likely to be the victim of a sexual assault than members of the general population.
- One study published by the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services in 2000, reported that 15 out of 20 sexual assaults of nursing home residents were committed by nursing home staff.
- In 2003, researchers published a study in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work that found an “overwhelming number of identified perpetrators were facility residents aged 70 and over”. The study went on to recommend appropriate staffing to monitor the activities of its residents.
- A 2002 General Accounting Office (GAO) report commented that there are intolerable levels of physical and sexual abuse happening in nursing homes.
- A study called “Sexual Predators in Nursing Homes” found that 11 out of 20 nursing home residents died of trauma within the first year after being sexually assaulted.
Sadly, many cases of nursing home and other elder sexual abuse go unreported but of the cases that do, more are being turned into elder abuse lawsuits than ever before. The majority of these cases are filed against “licensed” facilities that should have been following better safety protocols for its residents. About 2000 facilities are charged with elder abuse each year.
An elder abuse attorney can help you or a loved one navigate through the sexual assault by notifying the appropriate authorities, helping to make other living arrangements, conducting a thorough investigation into the incident and fighting for damages.
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