Elder Sexual Abuse
Elder Sexual Abuse

Nursing Homes Have a Legal Duty to Prevent Elder Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse of the Elderly is one of the most understudied aspects of elder mistreatment. An National Institute of Justice, NIJ-sponsored study that examined elder sexual abuse found that: 1

  • Elderly sexual assault victims were not routinely evaluated to assess the psychological effects of an assault.
  • The older the victim, the less likelihood that the offender would be convicted of sexual abuse.
  • Perpetrators were more likely to be charged with a crime if victims exhibited signs of physical trauma.
  • Victims in assisted living situations faced a lower likelihood than those living independently that charges would be brought and the assailant found guilty.

Abuse in Nursing Homes and other Long Term Care Facilities

The National Center on Elder Abuse – Administration on Aging, elder abuse occurs in community settings, such as private homes, as well as institutional settings like nursing homes and other types of long term care facilities. 3.2 million Americans resided in nursing homes during 2008. In 2009, the National Center for Assisted Living reported that over 900,000 people nationwide lived in assisted living settings.

Below is a sampling of research findings relating to abuse in long term care facilities:

  • 7% of all complaints regarding institutional facilities reported to long term care Ombudsmen were complaints of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • In 2000, one study interviewing 2,000 nursing home residents reported that 44% said they had been abused and 95% said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected.
  • A May 2008 study conducted by the U.S. General Accountability Office revealed that state surveys understate problems in licensed facilities: 70% of state surveys miss at least one deficiency and 15% of surveys miss actual harm and immediate jeopardy of a nursing home resident.

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) defines elderly sexual abuse as “non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly person” or “[s]exual contact with any person incapable of giving consent.” This definition includes “unwanted touching, all types of sexual assault or battery, such as rape, sodomy, coerced nudity, and sexually explicit photographing.”

The NCEA synthesizes pertinent research on topics related to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation into summary research briefs.  Research briefs released in 2012 include:

  • How at Risk for Abuse Are People with Dementia?
  • Abuse of Residents of Long Term Care Facilities
  • Abuse of Adults with a Disability

If you are concerned about a vulnerable adult who is the victim of sexual abuse or other form of neglect contact Attorney Kenneth LaBore for a free consultation at 612-743-9048 or at 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com


Elder Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
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