Signs of Elderly Sexual Abuse 

As people age, they may find themselves needing extra care and aid in their daily lives, frequently leaving them in the care of a nursing home or other caretakers. Sadly, some people use this support system to abuse the people in their power, including nursing home staff. In some cases, this abuse includes sexual abuse, which can be challenging to spot at times.

Because of this, any caretakers or those concerned about the safety of their loved ones in a nursing home or around-the-clock care situation should be aware of the most common signs of elderly sexual abuse. When you know how to spot abuse, you are armed with knowledge that can help you pursue justice for your loved ones. With this knowledge, you may be better able to aid your loved ones in difficult times.

Elderly Sexual Abuse Can Be Tricky to Identify

Sexual abuse is sadly underreported, especially among men, and that lack of reporting also applies to older adults. Unfortunately, many people experiencing elderly sexual abuse, meaning abuse involving sexual contact with an older person, feel shame and embarrassment, which prevents them from reporting these issues. Many people also feel threatened by their abuser, which may be worse for older adults who need a caretaker.

Often, adult sexual abuse is hard to identify because the victim is unable to advocate for their needs. Older adults may be isolated from others by an abusive caretaker, or they may be unable to communicate due to cognitive or physical disabilities. This is particularly true for those suffering from conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

The isolation of a nursing home or caretaker environment may also isolate the abuse victim from sources of support. The abuser may have control over the victim, making it difficult for others to identify abuse and take action to protect the victim. Because of this, it is vital to take action if you suspect abuse in these situations.

Significant Signs of Sexual Abuse of Older Adults

You may already suspect sexual abuse of an older loved one, but you may not have the evidence to prove it. Seeking signs of sexual abuse can be challenging to spot, which is why knowing the specific signs is crucial. When you know what to expect and what evidence to gather, you have a better chance of getting the help you need for your loved one.

Physical Injuries

When a loved one has experienced elderly sexual abuse, You may know the physical signs of that abuse. The signs can indicate that someone is treating your loved one violently or aggressively. Know the physical signs that may indicate that sexual abuse is happening according to the US Department of Justice, which includes the following:

  • Pelvic injuries
  • Bloodstains on their underwear
  • Bruises in the thigh or genital area
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Development of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Unfortunately, the perpetrator may try to hide their actions, and the sexual abuse victim may be too ashamed to speak out. Spotting these signs and taking action can be difficult, but seeking medical care when you notice issues like these can help build evidence against the wrongdoer. That can help you and your loved one get justice as soon as possible through a personal injury claim or criminal charges.

Emotional Suffering

Signs of sexual abuse are not always physical. In fact, some of the crucial signs to watch for when you suspect abuse are changes in the emotional state of the older person you are concerned about. If you notice any of the following changes, you may have grounds to pursue an investigation into the treatment they are receiving:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Panic attacks
  • Suicide attempts
  • Engaging in inappropriate or unusual sexual behavior

Emotional distress is not always connected to sexual abuse, as distress can stem from other types of mistreatment, changes in cognitive function, and more, according to studies published by the National Library of Medicine. However, coupled with other signs of abuse, these signs can point to ongoing abuse that should be stopped.