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How Can Sexual Abuse Happen at a Nursing Home?

February 14, 2020

It’s startling to learn that your disabled family member or family elder suffered sexual abuse in a nursing home facility. It may seem unlikely, and even local police may question the allegations. When it comes to sexual abuse, you’ll find that many people are quick to question the actuality or the reality of the claims. Don’t back down. You can get help, take action, and speak up for the family member that was assaulted. A local nursing home abuse attorney in Columbia can help you with your case.

Patient on Patient Assault

When you visit the nursing home, and it appears that everyone there is reliant upon a wheelchair or walker to get around, you question what could possibly happen in the line of sexual misconduct. The unthinkable happens more frequently than anyone would like to admit. Patient on patient abuse is common but usually isn’t exclusive to sexual abuse.

Not everyone in a nursing home is mentally impaired or unable to make their own decisions. Often it is that patient who is of sound mind who can abuse other patients. When building a case against another patient, you’ll need to go through the evidence and identify how the abuse was found out. If it was from an assistant, nurse, or other forms of a medical professional, then the facility may have taken immediate action or issued an immediate response.

When building a case, the response of the facility is paramount. If you received a call in the early morning hours that your loved one was assaulted or that abuse had been found, then you need to assume that this may be part of ongoing behavior. The question is, did the facility do enough, and did they act quickly enough?

Staff on Patient Assault

A terrifying form of sexual abuse to happen in a nursing home is staff on patient assault. When you have people who are solely responsible for handling the care of another person, you always have to question the purity of their motives. Many nurses find their work rewarding even if they have the day to day frustrations that everyone experiences at work.

However, there is another breed of medical staff. From janitors to medical professionals, the staff has almost unlimited access and large windows of alone time with patients. When you have patients who cannot respond or cause enough of a scene to grab attention while the assault is in progress, it quickly becomes their word against the staff members.

But as many people expose these types of staff members, the facilities are becoming quicker to take action. CNN found a series of sexual abuse claims against an older male assistant who had worked in various nursing homes until finally, he was caught in the act raping an 83-year-old woman.

Often staff preys on patients because they may not be able to respond or report the abuse. That issue is the top reason why medical professionals are trained to look out for signs of ongoing sexual abuse while they’re providing care.

Gathering Evidence of Sexual Abuse in a Nursing Home

Gathering evidence is often a very difficult element because it can also be invasive and traumatic to relive the experience. Witness statements are often the best course for evidence, along with any surveillance camera footage.

Although there is no restriction when it comes to who can commit sexual abuse, statistically perpetrators are often men between the ages of 18 and 80. Usually, it’s a staff member or another resident. It is extremely rare that it’s visitors.

Lawyers may work with experts in various fields to lay out the foundation of the most common type of perpetrator and how they may have targeted the victim specifically. Investigators involved may be working on evidence collection and statements as well. When you begin a case against the accused sexual abuser, the discovery phase would include gathering evidence used in any investigation or criminal trial.

Work with A Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer For Civil Action

When you’re working on setting up a case against a nursing home, you’ll need an attorney that has a lot of experience handling nursing home abuse. A local Columbia nursing home abuse law firm such as Connell Law can help build your case based on the evidence and pursue civil action against the assailant.

When you’re in that state of distress but ready to take action for the elderly person in your life, it’s critical that you have help. Trying to take these cases to court on your own is a huge project, and many people would rather spend that time and effort trying to comfort or to be with the elderly victim.