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The Growing Risk of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse

By Walton Law APCJune 14, 2023October 12th, 2023No Comments

The elderly residents of nursing homes are often exposed to the risk of abuse or harm. This ranges from intentional emotional and physical abuse to passive neglect because of understaffing or negligence. Sexual abuse is another serious risk in long-term care homes even if it may not be as prevalent as other types of abuse.  

Sexual abuse in a nursing home setting can be perpetuated by different parties, such as residents, staff members, and others. The nursing home may be found liable for preventing injuries even when the acts of sexual assault were perpetrated by other residents.  

Recent Instance of Sexual Assault in a Seal Beach Nursing Home 

The recent sexual abuse episode in an Orange County coastal city underscores the need for ongoing awareness and holding nursing homes liable for their negligence when they fail to take appropriate measures to protect their vulnerable residents. ABC News 7, recently reported that an 85-year-old elderly woman suffering from dementia was sexually assaulted by another resident at the Seal Beach Health and Rehabilitation nursing home.  

Police were called early in March 2022 by staff members when they heard the screams of a woman. The door was barricaded by the suspect’s wheelchair who was found on top of her in bed as per the report. The report went on to explain the suspect was engaged in acts of a sexual nature against the victim by the time the staff members were able to get inside.  

The suspect had spent time in prison on accounts of serious domestic violence. The ABC News 7 spoke with residents’ family members that expressed concerns over how someone with a history of sexual violence was allowed in the facility and not kept proper tabs on.  

Growing Sexual Violence in Nursing Homes  

Nursing homes need to be held accountable for failing in their duty to keep residents safe from such acts of violence. In most cases, a facility can be held responsible for sexual abuse and assault when perpetrated by one resident against the other. The recent Southern California case only highlights the need for understanding the serious and real risk of sexual abuse in elder nursing homes.  

The National Center on Elder Abuse at USC’s Keck School of Medicine and the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care have released a fact sheet about nursing home sexual abuse: 

  • Sexual abuse can take several forms, such as rape, unwanted touching, forced observation of porn, forced nudity, and taking sexually explicit pictures and videos among other similar things 
  • Women residents and those with dementia have a greater likelihood of experiencing sexual abuse 
  • Sexual abuse can come from anyone in contact with the resident, such as staff members, other residents, visitors, and service workers among others 
  • Signs of sexual abuse can include physical symptoms, such as sexually transmitted infections, and unexplained bleeding to agitation or panic attacks 

Speak with an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today 

Speak with the lawyers at Walton Law if you have questions about filing a claim for nursing home abuse for any type of neglect of abuse in a skilled nursing facility. We have helped countless victims and their families seek rightful compensation. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (866) 338-7079 or contact us online.