Sexual Abuse Of Elders: The Horrifying Reality
When you place a loved one in a nursing home, you trust they’ll be protected, supervised and — above all — safe. The same is true for assisted living facilities, group homes and other professional care settings.
Many of these residents require an intensive level of care because they suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive deficiencies. Sadly, because they’re so vulnerable, these same residents often become targets for sexual predators.
Indications Of Abuse
There are no words to describe the horror of finding out that your loved one was sexually assaulted. Perhaps an employee or another resident took advantage of your loved one. The predator may have known they would likely get away with it because of the victim’s memory problems or confusion. Nonetheless, you may have developed suspicions after noticing warning signs. For example, perhaps your loved one suddenly started:
- Acting out
- Becoming violent
- Behaving inappropriately
- Screaming out when approached by family members or employees
- Screaming out when bathed or toileted
- Engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior
- Complaining of pelvic pain
Signs of abuse should always be taken seriously. In fact, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to report suspicions of abuse to:
- The resident’s family
- The Agency for Health Care Administration
- The Florida Department of Children and Families
- Law enforcement
What if the state is unable to make an official determination that abuse occurred? Even then, a full investigation may be necessary to get to the bottom of the suspicious circumstances.
When Suspicions Of Abuse Get Swept Aside
All too often, though, reports of sexual abuse get swept under the rug. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities don’t want the hassle or expense of a scandal on their hands. They bank on the fact that victims often don’t fully remember what happened — or, if they do, they can’t always articulate it. Meanwhile, the abuse continues.
Giving Victims A Voice
At Ford, Dean & Rotundo, P.A., we’ve witnessed firsthand how professional care facilities mishandle reports of sexual abuse. Our lawyers have also seen the toll it takes on the victims and their families. We’ve helped many of these families across Florida pursue justice.
If you’re worried that your loved one may have been a victim of sexual abuse, don’t keep silent. Let us help you get to the bottom of it. Our attorneys won’t hesitate to hold nursing homes, assisted living facilities and their employees accountable.