Sexual Abuse and Assault of the Elderly

Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Daniel Harwin

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Elder sexual abuse refers to any action against a senior that relates to unwanted sexual attention or touching. An attorney with experience in sexual abuse cases may be able to help you discover if a predator has acted this way to someone you love. Any sexual contact with an elder who has not given consent or does not have the mental capacity to give consent is elder sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can occur in a nursing home, extended living facility, hospice, or right at home with trusted caretakers, even family members.

Freedland Harwin Valori Gander, PL, can help you fight for justice for your loved one. As soon as you suspect elder or nursing home sexual abuse, contact our attorneys. Nursing home and elder abuse should not be tolerated in any form. We know how to investigate the negligent, reckless, and wrongful acts of others against the vulnerable elderly population in Florida. Talk to us today about how we can help your elderly loved one.

How to Detect Elder Sexual Abuse

Unfortunately, elder sexual abuse is a widely underreported issue. Victims often have mental conditions that make them incapable of reporting abuse, such as dementia. Others don’t say anything out of fear of retaliation or because they don’t think anyone will believe them. Whatever the case, know that it might be up to you (a friend or family member) to detect signs of sexual abuse in an elderly person and act once you believe this crime is occurring. Common signs of elder sexual abuse include:

  • Pelvic/genital injuries
  • Bruising on the upper thighs or genitals
  • Bleeding from genitals or other areas
  • Pain or irritation of genitals or other areas
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Blood in undergarments
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Agitation or panic attacks
  • Feelings of shame, guilt, or anger
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

It’s important to check on your elderly loved ones regularly if they live with a caretaker or at a nursing home facility. Talk to your loved one and see how he or she is doing. Take notice of the senior citizen’s physical appearance, health, nutrition, behaviors, and emotional state. If someone confides in you about any type of abuse or inappropriate sexual actions, take him or her seriously and take steps to get to the bottom of the situation.

What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Sexual Abuse

The moment something makes you suspicious of elder sexual abuse, get your loved one to a safe place. Take him or her out of the nursing home facility and report your suspicions to authorities, such as the owner of the nursing home or even the police. Then, schedule a free consultation with one of our Florida attorneys. We can investigate the situation and help you explore your legal rights. You might have the elements of a personal injury claim in addition to a criminal investigation of the alleged perpetrator.

If we do find evidence of sexual abuse, we’ll take immediate action against the perpetrator and likely other defendants as well. For example, if a nursing home staff member abused a resident, the nursing home can be vicariously liable as the perpetrator’s employer. We can help you file claims against a nursing home or other care facility, an individual staff member, accomplices, and/or other parties in pursuit of justice and financial compensation.

In Florida, you have the right to file a civil claim for monetary damages during an ongoing criminal investigation for sexual abuse. Our team can make sure you bring your case to the correct civil court within the statute of limitations, or deadline for filing. We can also hire expert witnesses and take other measures to strengthen your case. We’ll work hard to make sure you and your family receive the best compensation award possible for your personal injury claim, using years of first-hand experience. Call (954) 467-6400 to start with a free case evaluation from an attorney.

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