Liability for Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

No one wants to consider the possibility of their aging loved one suffering sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted caregiver. However, it is a very real danger for many seniors. While other types of nursing home abuse may occur more frequently, sexual abuse in nursing homes can be especially heinous and emotionally damaging to victims. 

If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, you need to know how to spot signs of abuse and how to react if you do not believe they are receiving the level of care they deserve.

What constitutes sexual abuse at a nursing home?

Any non-consensual contact that is sexual in nature constitutes abuse. This includes any such contact with a senior who cannot give consent, or does not have the capacity to reasonably weigh the risks before giving consent. Ways in which perpetrators may sexually abuse nursing home residents include:

  • Inappropriate touching
  • Sexual assault or battery
  • Rape
  • Forced watching of pornography
  • Coerced nudity
  • Taking sexually explicit photos

Who is liable for nursing home abuse?

The administrators of a nursing home are responsible for ensuring all employees are well-qualified and do not put residents in danger. If a nursing home hires an employee who later abuses a resident, the nursing home will likely be liable for damages because the administrators acted negligently when they failed to:

  • Conduct adequate background checks
  • Train employees to spot abuse
  • Monitor staff
  • Address any signs of abusive behavior
  • Provide security for patients

In addition to being directly liable, a nursing home will likely be liable for a resident’s injuries because of a concept known as vicarious liability. Under vicarious liability, employers are responsible for the behavior of their employees while they are at work.

This means that you can file a claim against the nursing home if you have evidence to show that one of its employees abused your loved one, even if you cannot prove the nursing home administration acted negligently or even knew about the abuse.

How do I report nursing home abuse?

If you believe a staff member or resident is sexually abusing your loved one at a Pennsylvania nursing home, you should act quickly to protect him or her. Call police or report your suspicions to the administration immediately.

Ask your senior about the incident or incidents, and take careful notes of any details s/he can provide. Also, consider reporting the abuse to state authorities:

  • In Pennsylvania, call 1-800-490-8505 to file a report with the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.
  • In New Jersey, contact your local Adult Protective Services office to file a report.

How can Cordisco & Saile LLC help after your loved one suffers nursing home abuse?

Cordisco & Saile LLC works with the families of Pennsylvania and New Jersey nursing home abuse victims. We ensure you can hold the responsible parties liable for the pain they caused your loved one. Compensation after a sexual abuse case may cover medical care, counseling, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call our Bucks County, PA, office today at 215-642-2335 to learn more.