Seniors May Become Victims of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual contact with an elder including touching, sexual assault, and rape. We would like to believe that such behavior never occurs in our nation’s long–term care facilities. Frail, elderly patients are vulnerable, however, and sometimes staff has not been adequately screened for psychological problems and criminal records.
An elder may not report an abusive sexual incident because of shame or fear of retaliation. Those seniors who are suffering from dementia will not be capable of giving or withholding consent, and may be unable to remember the unwelcome conduct. That is why it is important for you to take any physical symptoms of sexual abuse seriously. These may include:
- torn or bloody clothing;
- unexplained venereal disease or genital infections;
- genital or anal pain, itching, bruising, or bleeding.
Sexual abuse is an emergency situation, and you should report it to your local Sheriff, police, or Adult Protective Services. See your telephone directory or the Eldercare Locator (National Center on Elder Abuse) for a list of emergency telephone numbers. For more information about reporting abuse, call RCASA at 540.371.6771.