Nursing home abuse takes many different forms, but one especially devastating type of abuse is sexual abuse against the elderly. Many people do no realize how widespread the problem of nursing home sexual abuse is, but a disturbing new CNN report attempts to shed light on a problem which CNN believes is a much bigger issue than most people are aware of.
When sexual abuse occurs, nursing home residents and can be physically and mentally harmed. The vulnerable seniors who fall victim to abuse deserve to be fully and fairly compensated for economic and non-financial loss. An Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer can represent senior abuse victims and their families and help them to pursue a damage claim after an act of abuse occurs. Often, nursing homes bear at least some responsibility for acts of sexual abuse committed by staff members, and these care facilities can be held responsible for the harm to seniors.
Nursing Home Sexual Abuse is a Serious Problem in Atlanta and Throughout the United States
According to CNN, more than 16,000 sexual abuse claims involving nursing home patients have been reported since 2000. These reports of abuse are just the tip of the iceberg, though. Many seniors with Alzheimer’s and other serious medical conditions are never able to report the abuse they endure.
Even when seniors do speak up, they often cannot identify perpetrators and they don’t fully remember what happened. When nursing homes are faced with allegations, they may not be forthcoming about providing information to authorities because it could hurt the home’s reputation. For all these reasons, plus the fact there are no national databases tracking sexual abuse, it is impossible to determine how many seniors actually fall victim.
Families of some of the seniors who were harmed by sexual abuse spoke to CNN about their experiences and their first-hand accounts helped to illustrate why nursing home abuse sexual cases are so underreported. In one instance, a woman was abused by a nursing assistant who was actually caught and faced criminal charges. However, the nursing assistant had been a suspect in several prior investigations into harassment, and had been suspended from his work, but hadn’t been fired because the internal investigation conducted by the nursing home didn’t provide enough evidence. He only ended up getting caught and finally being held accountable because someone else on the nursing home staff saw him having sexual intercourse with an 83-year-old woman.
Nursing homes claim they try to investigate but have a hard time doing so due to residents having memory problems. Still, it is the neglect of these homes that sets up the conditions that make the abuse possible in many cases. Nursing homes should ensure that staff members undergo background screenings and should make certain there are enough staff present that it would be difficult for someone at a care facility to get away with sexual abuse. Not only does this not happen, but nursing homes often delay investigations into abuse and otherwise fail patients even when allegations are made.
Nursing home abuse victims and their families need to know their legal options after an incident involving sexual abuse. Filing a lawsuit against the nursing care facility may be the best way to ensure the nursing home is held accountable. A lawsuit can also allow victims and their families to obtain monetary compensation for the terrible harm caused by sexual abuse of the elderly nursing home resident.
The Atlanta injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent victims after an accidental injury. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.