Knoxville Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Attorney
Sexual abuse happens more frequently than many imagine. According to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, more than 800 allegations of sexual abuse in nursing homes were made in 2016. And these are only reported cases. Many family members never hear a word about sexual abuse because their loved one is too ashamed to report it.
At Atkins Brezina, PLLC, our Knoxville sexual abuse attorney represent nursing home residents and their families in legal actions to protect their rights to dignity and safety. Sexual abuse is always unwarranted, and a nursing home could face serious legal consequences. Let us help you today.
Types of Sexual Abuse
Our loved ones can suffer various forms of sexual abuse in a nursing home or other long-term care facility:
- A staff member forces a resident to undress
- A staff member shares pornography with a resident
- Staff members perform sexual acts in front of the resident
- A resident is sexually assaulted or raped by a staff member, visitor, or other resident
- A resident is sexually harassed by someone in the nursing home
Any of these acts can cause serious psychological harm. Sexual assault victims can also suffer physical injury, including a sexually transmitted infection.
What to Watch For
Sometimes, a resident confides in a friend or family member about the abuse. However, many take their secrets with them to the grave. Maybe they feel deep embarrassment, or they possibly fear that their abuser will escalate the attacks if they report them. Whatever the reason, they never notify anyone of the abuse.
As concerned family members, we must be vigilant to uncover signs of abuse. Some of the red flags include:
- Any bruising or chafing in the genital area, buttocks, or thighs
- A resident not being fully dressed when you visit (e.g., missing her underwear)
- A sexually transmitted infection
- Blood or torn sheets
- Changes in mood or behavior, especially depression
Of course, any change in how your loved one behaves could have many causes. The trigger isn’t always sexual abuse. But you should be on guard and investigate further. Definitely report your suspicions to management.
A Nursing Home’s Liability for Sexual Abuse
Any staff member who abuses a resident is legally liable for the assault. But in some situations, the nursing home will also be liable. For example, the nursing home might not have performed necessary background checks and consequently hired someone with a criminal record or a history of abusive behavior.
The nursing home also might fail to protect elderly residents from each other. Some sexual assault is committed by residents against each other. If the nursing home suspects inappropriate contact, they should take necessary action. This could include isolating a dangerous resident or assigning someone to watch him closely.
Nursing homes also must investigate credible accusations and avoid sweeping them under the rug. Unfortunately, some nursing homes are so short of staff that they cannot provide a safe environment to their residents.
Contact Us to Learn More
Our Knoxville nursing home sexual abuse attorney can help you file a complaint with the nursing home and the state. We can also sue for compensation when a loved one has suffered abuse. Call us to schedule a consultation.