Attorneys for Elder Sexual Abuse Complaints in Pittsburgh
If You or a Loved One Have Been Sexually Assaulted by a Caregiver, Ask Our Attorneys for Help
As our loved ones age, they often need more support for their health than we can provide. If they want to live independently, an in-house caretaker can assist where needed; if they need round-the-clock care, we may search for a good nursing home where they will have 24/7 access to help. Sadly, either may put them in danger of sexual abuse.
When abusers have access to vulnerable elderly individuals, they may take advantage once or repeatedly. They may do so without anyone learning of the abuse. If caught, these offenders may be prosecuted, but their victim deserves justice beyond seeing their attacker in jail. Filing a lawsuit does not just allow the victim to take on their abuser in court. It can also result in compensation to help them access treatment for the extensive physical and mental effects of sexual abuse. In some cases, they may also be awarded “punitive damages” assessed against the perpetrator as another form of sanction.
If you or a loved one has been victimized by a sexual predator, our caring team wants to help you ask for justice. No one should get away with sexual assault, especially against the most vulnerable members of our society.
Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. stands with you against sexual abusers. Schedule your free and confidential consultation by calling (844) 383-0565. If you can’t come to our office, we’ll come to you.
How to Identify Signs of Elder Sexual Abuse
There are many reasons elders may not feel comfortable enough to report sexual assault. However, they will still experience the traumatic fallout of this type of attack. It may even be compounded by the fact that they have no one to speak to about what has happened. This turmoil can present itself in many different ways that caretakers and family members might notice.
The trauma response can change someone’s behavior in significant ways and result in:
- Depression and/or sadness
- Changes in ability or participation in activities
- Difficulty sleeping
- Substance use disorders
- Eating disorders
- Unusual fear of certain people, groups of people, and/or situations
- Uncharacteristic aggressive and/or attention-seeking behaviors
- Refusal of medical attention and/or physical contact
Sometimes changes in behavior are assumed to be signs of dementia in elderly patients. However, they may be a reaction to sexual assault or some other form of elder abuse.
Sexual assault also leaves physical marks on victims’ bodies. Though delays in reporting may make it difficult to connect these injuries with an assault, nurses and other caretakers especially may notice:
- Bleeding, bruising, or other injuries of the genital area
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Complaints of pain or other distress with no known medical cause
Some of these symptoms might be interpreted as the results of poor care or simply part of aging, which can continue to conceal assault. Most elder caregivers do not have experience identifying sexual abuse among this demographic.
What Puts Elders at Risk of Sexual Assault?
The number of elders who experience sexual assault is high, but the risk is not even throughout the population. A study of authenticated cases among Virginia’s senior citizens found:
- 71% of assaults took place in nursing homes
- 15% took place in the home of the perpetrator
- 12% took place at the victim’s home
- 2% took place at a residential living facility that was not a nursing home
Nursing home residents tend to be the most vulnerable not only because they are in need of the largest amount of assistance, but also because they are partially or wholly dependent on their caretakers. When the person they must trust to help them with daily necessities is also their attacker, they are likely to believe reporting the crime will result in retaliation.
Getting Justice After Sexual Abuse
Those who were raised in a different generation may have different beliefs about what constitutes sexual abuse and be unwilling to report their experiences. When they do, it’s essential they feel their accusations are listened to and taken seriously.
We understand it can be difficult for anyone to talk about being a victim of sexual violence, which is why we take a client-focused approach with the goal of supporting an assault victim, no matter what they need. As a local family firm, we are dedicated to protecting our community, especially those who are vulnerable. We will also come to see you if you cannot make the journey to our office. Each case we take gets personal attention from our attorneys and the benefit of our firm resources.
If you have questions about an elder sexual abuse case, please do not wait to reach out. Anyone who is victimized in this way deserves justice, and their abuser must be held accountable both for their sake and for others’.
Call Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. today at (844) 383-0565 to schedule your free and confidential consultation.