Authorities Investigate Rape of Woman In Nursing Home

Rapes in Nursing HomesA transitional care facility and nursing home in West Chester received a brutal reminder that even those elderly patients who live in an elder care facility are not always safe. According to police, a rape reportedly happened between 9 and 11 PM. Despite the fact that neither the police nor the care facility would disclose the woman’s age, it is assumed that the woman was in fact a resident at the facility.

According to the vice president for marketing for the owner of the facility, there were re-conducted background checks for all the male caregivers and these male caregivers were removed from schedule on that particular floor for the day.

Remember that sexual elder abuse goes further

Even though this particular instance pertained to actual rape, it is important to remember that any contact without the elder’s consent is considered sexual elder abuse and is unacceptable and punishable by law. Contrary to what most people assume, this is not merely limited to physical sex acts. Sexual elder abuse also includes forcing the elder to undress without any specific reason, forcing the elderly patient to watch sex acts, or showing the elderly person pornographic material.

Some facts about sexual elder abuse

Even with the number of elder sexual abuse victims as high as it is right now, estimates suggest that only about 30 percent of sexual assaults/rapes on the elderly are reported to the police. Sometimes it is fear or embarrassment that prevents the victim from seeking help and justice, other times it is the nursing facility that attempts to downplay the situation.

Another troubling aspect of elder sexual abuse is the fact that people often fail to speak out. According to the statistics of one specific study, it is far more common to have at least one witness present for the sexual abuse (more than 75 percent) than it is for the sexual abuse to happen without any witnesses (24 percent). This means a large number of people are not reporting what they are seeing – perhaps due to the stigma of sexual abuse.

According to one final study (which did not actively screen for institutional sexual abuse), most of the time (81 percent) the suspected offenders of sexual elder abuse were caregivers themselves  while 78 percent were family members. Perhaps more shocking was that more than 33 percent of the suspects were in fact elderly themselves.

Remember that you are not helpless

It is important to remember that even if something did happen or almost happened, you are not helpless when it comes to seeking justice. Both seniors themselves and their relatives are able to bring forth claims against the nursing homes and the offending parties.

Remember that even if something almost happens, it is possible to institute a lawsuit for neglect. It is required by law that nursing homes provide reasonable care for its residents – these are industry standards. In fact, nursing homes are often held to a high standard of care. The NHRA (federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987) mandates that any nursing home that receives Medicaid or Medicare maintain safe facilities for its residents. If you are concerned about someone you care about, remember to speak out and make your voice heard.

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