The most devastating type of elder abuse in some people’s opinion is when the elderly residents are sexually abused. It can be hard to understand why somebody might engage in this type of abuse, especially when you take into account that elderly residents are often the most vulnerable. But don’t fret, if you have a loved one living in a nursing home and you suspect sexual abuse or want to know how to see signs of sexual abuse, we’re here to help you.
With your questions come our answers.
What is sexual abuse of a nursing home resident?
Sexual abuse is the act of physically engaging in sexual conduct of various manner with a nursing home resident that is neither consensual or wanted. It is considered sexual abuse if your loved one is confused or is unable to give consent due to an underlying mental or physical condition. Sexual abuse may include the following, however this list is not complete:
- Any unwanted touching, not just to the resident’s genitals.
- Sexual assault or battery.
- Sexually explicit photographs being taken of the resident
- Sexual harassment of the nursing home resident
You may also have questions about who is most at risk of being sexually abused in nursing homes. Victims of sexual abuse that live in nursing homes are often the most vulnerable, those who cannot defend themselves or speak out in their defense.
An exhaustive list of residents that may be most at risk cannot be given out because any resident can be sexually abused at any point in time, but knowing who is most at risk can help to avoid sexual abuse of your loved one:
- Older residents that are weaker and vulnerable
- Patients with dementia or other forms of mental impairment
- Residents who are socially isolated from their families
- Residents who receive neglect from other caregivers
- Patients with disabilities
Who Perpetrates Sexual Abuse?
Perpetrators of sexual abuse in nursing homes are often going to target those who are confused, cannot retaliate and cannot tell. It’s a similar pattern followed by abusers of this kind of abuse.
- Staff members, such as nursing home caregivers often receive low pay. This means they may not enjoy their job or believe they receive enough pay for their job. Not every staff member working in a nursing home is going to be an abuser, but sometimes staff members are not properly background checked or screened prior to coming to work in the nursing home.
- Other residents can be just as big of a threat as staff. Residents are always around each other, and stronger residents may want to abuse weaker residents intentionally or due to their own mental disabilities or confusion. Nursing home staff are supposed to be trained to watch for this and put a stop to it.
- Third parties such as visitors, vendors, salespersons or anyone that has access to the nursing home.
- Family members are also, sadly, potential perpetrators of sexual abuse. They may feel their elderly loved one owes them something for the care they’ve provided or paid for.