Quite possibly the most tragic and horrendous of all types of elder abuse is sexual assault. Elder sexual abuse occurs at a disturbing frequency throughout U.S. and Arkansas nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The victims generally suffer from dementia, Alzheimer's, or other forms of memory loss, communication difficulties, or confusion. Unfortunately, sexual abuse of elders is rarely reported to the authorities because of the fading mental condition of the victims, the fear and intimidation of the assailant constantly checking in on the victim, and the unwillingness of the facility to admit that it has such problems out of fear of legal retaliation. However, if you have a suspicion that a loved one is being abused, or you yourself have suffered sexual assault, we strongly urge you to seek the assistance of an experienced Jonesboro attorney immediately to ensure that the abuse is stopped once and for all and that financial compensation is provided.
What Constitutes Sexual Abuse?
Under Arkansas law, there are five types of sexual abuse that apply to elder sexual abuse: rape, first degree sexual assault, second degree sexual assault, third degree sexual assault, and fourth degree sexual assault. While the specific type of abuse will determine the offender’s degree of felony charges, any of the following acts constitutes elder sexual abuse and should be reported to the authorities at once.
Any unwanted, forced, coerced, or, by intimidation or threat:
- Touching, fondling, or groping;
- Rape, or intercourse;
- Oral sex;
- Nudity or exposure; and
- Pornographic photography.
Nursing Home and Assisted Living Victims are Less Likely than Independent-Living Victims to Report the Abuse
According to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), a recent NIJ-sponsored study found the following in accordance to elder sexual assault and sexual abuse:
- The older the victim was, the more likely that the assailant would get away with the crime;
- Higher signs of physical trauma shown by the victim resulted in greater odds of the offender being brought to justice (this means that the more discrete the offender is, the less likely they will be caught); and
- Offenders who assaulted victims of assisted living and nursing homes were less likely to be charged with a crime than offenders who assaulted victims living independently.
What to Do if You or a Loved One is a Victim of Elder Sexual Abuse
Upon learning of any type of sexual abuse that is going on in an assisted living home or nursing home, the first thing you should do is to contact a law enforcement authority. An immediate investigation is necessary, and the victim will need immediate care and protection. Secondly, you should speak with an attorney. You or your loved one may be entitled to a substantial settlement or finances via a civil lawsuit against the assisted living or nursing home. The physical, psychological, and emotional damage of being a sexual abuse victim can be incredibly traumatic. The Jonesboro, Arkansas nursing home abuse attorneys of Wells & Wells can be reached today at 870.782.4084. Contact us immediately for professional assistance with your case.