Acts of sexual assault are committed against elderly individuals more often than most people realize. Elder sexual assault happens when someone, typically a caregiver, takes advantage of an elderly person in a sexual nature. Though sexual assaults against the elderly can happen anywhere, it tends to happen most often in nursing homes. In these cases, victims may be entitled to compensation for their injuries when the assault occurred due to the negligence of the nursing home or other assisted living facility.
Elderly sexual assault includes any form of abuse involving the initiation of sexual contact with an elderly person when that contact is nonconsensual and unwanted. Elderly sexual assault can include many different things, from unwanted touching to rape.
Consent is an important issue, particularly when it comes to elderly sexual assault cases. Even in some cases where the elderly person appears to be agreeable to engaging in sexual activity, they may actually lack the ability to consent, and the sexual contact can be classified as sexual assault or battery. Certain diseases impact a person’s ability to consent, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It is also common for elderly people to suffer from confusion or another form of memory impairment, which may also impact consent. These types of assault or battery cases can be particularly complex since the elderly person may lack the ability to understand what is happening to them and may not report the sexual assault or seek help.
It is important for people to be aware of certain risk factors associated with elder sexual assault in order to allow them to help themselves and loved ones when necessary. One thing to keep in mind is that abusers have a tendency to seek out elderly individuals as victims, since the elderly are more vulnerable, and they believe they may be an easier target. Elderly individuals who live in an isolated environment or a nursing home are at a higher risk for elderly sexual assault than those who live at home with their loved ones.
Another risk factor associated with this form of elder abuse is simply being a woman. Elderly women are statistically more likely to become a victim of sexual assault. Other risk factors elderly individuals face include having a physical disability and suffering from neglect or another form of abuse.
There are some signs and indicators that are associated with sexual assault that you should be aware of if you have concerns regarding an elderly loved one. Some of these signs include things like bruises, torn clothing, unexplained sexually transmitted infections and diseases, a sudden change in affect or mood, depression symptoms, and excessive fear or anxiety around a caregiver or someone they have been in the presence of recently. If you notice these signs, you should take action and speak with your loved one and let them know that there is help.
If you are concerned that an elderly loved one has experienced sexual assault, one way you can help is to connect them with an experienced elder law attorney. Contact the attorneys at The Peck Law Group today for a consultation.
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