Breaking the Silence About Elder Sexual Abuse

In recent years, Americans have been bravely confronting issues that are difficult to discuss but crucial to expose, particularly in regard to sexual abuse. Numerous organizations are devoted to preventing child sexual abuse, and sexual assault on college campuses. But one population of vulnerable victims often goes unnoticed: the elderly.

Elder sexual abuse is a problem that many of us don't think about, not because we are callous or uncaring, but because we simply don't know that it is happening. But in nursing homes in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, it is a much more prevalent problem than most people realize.

Douglas V. Stoehr, Attorney at Law, is committed to fighting nursing home abuse and neglect in all its forms, including elder sexual abuse. This page contains helpful information on what to look for if you have an aging parent or other loved one in a nursing home.

What Are the Warning Signs of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse?

Although many of the following symptoms can be indicative of other problems (including age-related aches and pains), they may nonetheless be signs of elder sexual abuse:

  • New difficulty walking or sitting
  • Suffering an unexplained pelvic injury
  • Bleeding, bruising, irritation or other problems around the genitals or anus
  • Underwear that is torn or bloody
  • Sudden fearfulness or agitation
  • Panic attacks or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
  • An apparent or diagnosed sexually transmitted disease

Although you would expect a parent or loved one to report abuse to you, they may be unable to do so. Victims are often chosen because they have dementia, Alzheimer's or some other form of mental incapacity that makes it impossible for them to communicate effectively. That's why you need to be alert to physical symptoms and sudden changes in behavior.

Sexual Abuse By Other Residents

Although nursing home staffers are often the focus of suspicion in abuse cases, residents sometimes abuse other residents. But make no mistake: in such cases, the nursing home still bears liability for the attacks. The facility and its staff are responsible for ensuring the safety of all patients.

Not Sure if Your Suspicions Are Warranted? Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer.

You may be worried about pursuing litigation or even talking to police if you don't fully trust your suspicions. That is understandable, but it shouldn't prevent you from voicing your concerns to someone. Our firm offers free initial consultations, and we are ready to discuss your concerns with you. If further action is needed or warranted, we'll help you get in touch with the proper authorities and pursue legal claims on behalf of your loved ones.

Douglas V. Stoehr, Attorney at Law, is located in Altoona, and serves clients throughout west central Pennsylvania. If you are worried about your loved one in a nursing home, call us at 814-946-4100, or send us an email.