Any form of care facility has breached its duty of care when staff fails to protect elderly patients from sexual assault. Sexual abuse is when someone makes sexual contact with the elderly person without the person’s consent. In addition to actual sex acts is unwarranted behavior such as forcing an elderly person to watch pornographic material. It can also entail forcing a person to watch live performances of sexual acts, or making them undress. It is unfortunate that many of these crimes remain unreported. Any form of sexual abuse may entitle the victim to seek monetary compensation for damages, including pain, suffering, and mental anguish.
Sexual abuse of the elderly is a real threat to an elderly person living in a Washington area care facility. Abusers can be staff, residents, or visitors to the facility. The sex offender registration law does not require those with offenses prior to the law’s passing to register their whereabouts, and older sex offenders may become residents of elderly care facilities themselves.
It is imperative that friends and family members be vigilant regarding abuse in elder- care environments. Because of embarrassment or fear of repercussions, many victims are unwilling to even make mention of an assault.
Signs of sexual abuse
The following are signs of possible sexual abuse:
- Obvious nervousness and/or avoidance when a staff person approaches
- Noticeably irregular manner of sitting or walking
- Ripped or bloodstained sheets or underwear
- Wounds on breasts, buttocks, thighs, or genitals
- Bleeding from vagina or anus
- Vaginal infection or venereal disease
What to do if you suspect sexual abuse in a Seattle care facility
When an elderly person has experienced sexual abuse in a Seattle, Washington care facility, it should be reported to Senior Protective Services and to the police. Not only should the criminal be removed and charged, the victim or a concerned friend or family member should consult a Washington nursing home abuse lawyer to make a claim for monetary damages against the care facility that failed to provide a safe environment or to protect its residents from harm. It is important to choose an attorney with experience in nursing home abuse cases. These cases demand careful investigation and documentation that only a lawyer thoroughly familiar with the complexities of proving abuse allegations can accomplish.
When you need an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Seattle, Washington, call the Wattel and York law firm. We have been protecting the rights of nursing home and assisted living residents and other elderly citizens for many years and are committed to equal justice for people of all ages.
Call us today for a free consultation and case evaluation. If you can’t make it to our office, that’s okay. We will be happy to come to you wherever you are living. And you never have to pay up front. Legal fees come out of the settlement, and you owe us nothing unless we recover money.