It is an unfortunate reality that sexual assault and battery occur all too often in the elderly population. Instances of sexual assault include situations where someone (often, a caregiver) takes advantage of an elderly person in a sexual manner. Although this form of assault can happen anywhere, it occurs most often in nursing homes. When an assault of this nature happens as a result of the negligence of a nursing home or other type of assisted living facility, the victim may be eligible for compensation for the injuries that they had suffered.
Elderly sexual assault is a type of abuse that involves the initiation of sexual or physical contact with an elderly person when that contact is unwanted or nonconsensual. Elderly sexual assault can include many different things, from an unwanted touch to rape.
It is important to understand that even if an elderly individual seems to be agreeable to engaging in sexual activity, it may be impossible for them to give consent—which makes the incident a sexual assault. There are a few different reasons why an elderly individual may be unable to give consent, such as the fact that they are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It is also common for elderly people to have medical conditions that result in confusion or other forms of memory impairment. Cases involving these facts may be particularly complicated, since the victim may not have been aware of what had happened to them—and therefore, does not report the sexual assault or seek out any assistance.
Elderly individuals and their loved ones should keep some common risk factors in mind in order to be in a better position to protect themselves or their elderly loved ones from sexual assault. One thing to be aware of is that abusers have a tendency to seek out elderly individuals due to their vulnerability. Essentially, these perpetrators believe that elderly individuals will be an easier target. Another risk factor is that elderly people who live alone or in nursing homes are more likely to become victims of sexual assault than those that live at home with their loved ones.
An additional risk factor to keep in mind is that elderly women are more at risk of suffering an instance of sexual assault than elderly men are. Other risk factors include the presence of any form of physical disability, as well as someone who has previously been a victim of neglect or other types of abuse.
If you are worried that a loved one has been a victim of a sexual assault, there are some indicators that you can look for that can help you learn whether they are in need of help. Some signs of sexual assault include unexplained bruises or sexually transmitted diseases and infections, depression, a sudden change in mood or affect, torn clothing, excessive fear or anxiety around a caregiver or anyone that they have been in contact with recently. If you notice any of these signs, it may indicate that your elderly loved one has been a victim of sexual assault, and it may be time to take action.
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