Identifying nursing home sexual abuse

Law enforcement agents from Georgia and Alabama met earlier this month to talk about the epidemic of elder abuse in their communities. The growing number of abuse cases may cause you to wonder what the signs of senior abuse are and how perpetrators get away with it.

Elder sexual assault is one of the most overlooked elder abuse crimes. This post will explain what elder sexual assault is and how you can recognize the signs of it.

According to the Alabama elder law definitions (Alabama Code § 38-9-2), elder sexual abuse includes the acts defined in the existing Alabama Criminal Code. Sexual abuse is any kind of non-consensual sexual contact, including touching someone’s genitals, rape, forced nudity or photography.

Like other sexual assault survivors, older victims may feel humiliated or afraid that someone will think they are lying. This embarrassment and emotional trauma may lead to victims not reporting sexual assault, which can lead to further abuse. Nursing home sexual abuse victims are often physically disabled or mentally impaired, which may also contribute to their cases going unreported.

Here are some signs of sexual assault to be aware of:

  • Bruising on genitals or breasts
  • Bleeding from the genitalia or anal area
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
  • Damaged or soiled underwear

If you recognize sexual abuse in an elder, you may want to report it to the Alabama Abuse Hotline, Alabama Adult Protective Services or the police. You may also want to speak to a lawyer to see how you can protect your family member’s rights and receive possible restitution for their pain. A lawyer may have the resources to help you resolve your case with respect and privacy.

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