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Elder Sexual Abuse

The topic is unthinkable and upsetting, but unfortunately all too real. Sexual abuse can happen to anybody, and senior citizens are perhaps even more vulnerable than other demographics due to their isolation and, in many instances, reliance on others to take care of them. A senior citizen who is sexually abused may not even be aware of what exactly has happened, but enough to know it wasn’t okay. If you believe that a loved one or somebody in your care has been sexually abused, contact the law offices of Altman & Altman LLP today.

While studies have been conducted into the issue of elder sexual abuse, it is difficult to get any reliable statistics regarding how common the heinous act truly is. The elderly who are most likely to be targeted are the ones with various medical issues, such as illnesses affecting their memory like Alzheimer’s, and therefore are unable to properly identify what happened to them or who perpetrated the act.

Others who are assaulted may be unable to understand that what they went through was sexual assault or abuse, and therefore will not report at all. A study by the National Institute of Justice found that, of sexual assault victims, elderly people were the least likely to report of all the age demographics. One study found that only 30 percent of elderly victims over the age of 65 report the abuse.

According to the study, elderly women are six times more likely to be victimized, 27 percent of elderly victims are victimized in the elder’s own home or in the home of the perpetrator, 83 percent of the victims live in an assisted living facility or nursing home and, perhaps most upsetting, 80 percent of the abuse was perpetrated by a caregiver of the elderly victim – a shocking 67 percent of them by members of the same family.

Signs of elder sexual abuse

There are numerous telling signs that an elderly loved one may have been sexually abused or assaulted – including both physical and non-physical symptoms.

  • Visible bruises on the body, such as the arms, chest, or on the thighs/backside
  • Difficulties walking or sitting down
  • Irregular bleeding, especially from the genital areas
  • Sudden bouts of fear, agitation, panic attacks, recurring nightmares or social withdrawal
  • A sudden and random development of an STD
  • Unusual, out-of-character behavior, such as a suicide attempt or change of demeanor around a particular caregiver
  • Pelvic injuries
What steps to take

If you have any reason to suspect an elderly loved one is being taken advantage of or has been victimized by a sexual assault, you must act right away to get them safely away from the situation. Contact the local authorities and ask what steps you can take to get them out of the situation immediately, and then contact the expert attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP.

We have over 50 years of experience handling every different kind of abuse case imaginable, and we can provide step-by-step guidance on how to remedy the situation and bring the perpetrator to justice. We can connect you with resources to speak with your elderly loved one so that they may be able to tell their account of what happened, whereas it may be too difficult to do with a law enforcement officer or a family member.

Once the perpetrator is identified, we will aggressively pursue any and all legal action against them to ensure that they are held responsible for their despicable actions. If the abuse happened at a nursing home or a professional care facility, we will investigate if the facility was negligent in their duties to adequately protect your loved one and placed them in an unsafe environment.

We will engage in actions to collect compensation for you and your loved one’s time and suffering, and to help find a new place for them to live their lives without being in fear of such a terrible event ever happening again.

Call us today for a free consultation to go over the details of your case at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We are available 24/7.

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