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Protecting Your Loved One From Sexual Abuse in an Illinois Nursing Home

Posted on in Sexual Abuse


Chicago nursing home Sexual Abuse LawyerAny form of nursing home abuse or neglect can be devastating to victims and their loved ones, but perhaps the most harmful and insidious is sexual abuse. While you may never expect to be affected by sexual abuse personally, these terrible incidents do happen, and sometimes close to home. Just last month, a southern Illinois nursing home was fined $200,000 for an incident in which a staff member allegedly sexually assaulted a resident.

In addition to staff members, other residents may also be perpetrators of sexual abuse in nursing homes. Regardless of the identity of the offender, sexual abuse can leave physical, emotional, and psychological scars on the victim. If you have a loved one who is living in a nursing home, it is important to be aware of the possibility of sexual abuse and to understand how to recognize and prevent it.

Recognizing Signs of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can be difficult to detect, as victims are often reluctant to discuss it out of fear or shame. Nursing home residents with dementia may also find it very difficult to communicate their distress, and they may be uncertain as to whether the abuse actually happened. You may not be able to rely on your loved one to tell you of the abuse on their own, so it is important to look for signs that abuse may have occurred.

Possible signs of sexual abuse include pain, bruises, cuts, broken bones, and other injuries that appear without explanation. Unexplained symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases are also likely signs of sexual abuse. You should also pay close attention to your loved one’s moods and behaviors to look for signs of fear, withdrawal, depression, or confusion that could indicate that something is seriously wrong.

Reporting Sexual Abuse and Holding the Nursing Home Accountable

If you suspect that your loved one has been abused, you should report it immediately to your regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman, as well as to the Illinois Department of Public Health through the Nursing Home Complaint Hotline. Making a report will initiate an investigation process to help you prevent further abuse and hold the nursing home accountable.

According to Illinois law, nursing homes can be heavily sanctioned for allowing abuse to occur, whether the abuser is a staff member, another resident, or a visitor. Nursing home staff members who are aware of abuse are also required by law to report it to the authorities, and they can face consequences for failing to do so. You may also wish to press criminal charges against the perpetrator of abuse, or file a claim for civil damages for the harm caused to your loved one.

Contact a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Sexual abuse is a terrible tragedy, especially when perpetrated against nursing home residents who cannot easily defend themselves. If your loved one has been abused, the compassionate Cook County nursing home abuse attorneys at Schwartz Injury Law can help you seek justice. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 312-535-4625.

 

Sources:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/illinois/articles/2021-07-31/former-nurse-charged-with-sexual-abuse-nursing-home-fined

https://www2.illinois.gov/aging/programs/LTCOmbudsman/Pages/ombuds_reporting.aspx

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1225&ChapterID=21

 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1222&ChapterID=21

 

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