It is hard to believe that anybody would sexually abuse a defenseless nursing home resident, but sadly it happens all too often in Virginia.  Elderly Virginia nursing home or assisted living residents can be sexually abused by nursing home staff, other residents, or guests in the facility.

Unfortunately, even when sexual abuse does happen and there is evidence, the abuse does not get reported.  This can happen for a variety of reasons.

  • First, staff members may cover up signs of abuse, fearing for their jobs. 
  • Second, facility management may cover up or fail to report abuse to the appropriate authorities  to avoid fines, sanctions, or to avoid damaging the facilities reputation.
  • Third, residents themselves may hide the fact that they have been abused out of fear, shame, or embarrassment
  • Fourth, some residents are not cognitively aware enough to complain about the abuse or get help after it happens.
  • Fifth, family members who suspect sexual abuse may be so horrified or embarrassed by the intimate nature of the crime that they refuse to accept what happened and take action.

There are a myriad of reasons why nursing home abuse, especially sexual abuse, is swept under the proverbial rug.  However, it is important to remember that sexual abuse of Virginia nursing home residents IS A CRIME.  No matter how troubling or surreal the circumstances of the abuse, it is important that the guilty party or parties be held accountable for their actions, if for no other reason than to prevent them from abusing more elders.

Do you suspect elder sexual abuse?  There are not always signs, but some things to look for include:

  • Genital discomfort, such as difficulty sitting or walking
  • Genital or urinary tract infections or injuries
  • Unexplained bleeding from the anus or vagina
  • Bruising around the genitals or abdomen
  • Sexually transmitted disease in an elder who does not engage in consensual sex
  • Unexplained fear or nervousness around certain staff members or other residents
  • Deteriorating mental state or behavior

Please don’t be afraid to get help if you suspect that someone you know is being sexually abused at a nursing home or assisted living facility in Virginia.  The discrete, compassionate attorneys at Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas can meet with you privately about your situation.  Please contact their Warrenton or Culpeper office today, or use our online contact form right now.

Richard A. Dulaney
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Richard has over 30 years of experience in personal injury law.

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