Under Illinois law, certain professionals are required to report suspected abuse, including those who work in nursing homes.1 Allegations of physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse should all be reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health and/or the local authorities. The Illinois Department on Aging states that professionals are required to make reports when the suspected case of abuse involves adults ages 60 and older or individuals who are between the ages of 18-59 who are disabled and unable to report the abuse themselves.
Nursing Home Director Faces Criminal Charges for Failing to Report Sexual Abuse
Nursing home staffers who neglect to report suspected abuse can be held liable for their failure to take action. In fact, a nursing home director in California was charged for failing to report sexual abuse after two residents from her assisted living facility reported that they had been sexually assaulted by a caregiver.2
According to the news source, Lisa Cohen, 54, director of the Royal Gardens Assisted Living Facility, neglected to file a report as required by law after she learned two residents had reported the abuse to staffers. The incidents are said to have happened back in October 2020. The male staffer, who is no longer employed by the facility, was arrested in January over the sexual abuse allegations. The former male staffer is facing charges for “assault with the intent to commit rape, kidnapping, and lewd acts upon a dependent person.”
If you suspect that your loved one has been sexually abused while under the care of nursing home staffers, you are encouraged to report the alleged incident to administrative staff as well as contact a Chicago, IL nursing home abuse lawyer. In the event staffers fail to take action, including reporting the allegations to the appropriate agency, our nursing home abuse attorneys will ensure the incident is properly reported.
How to tell if a nursing home resident is being sexually abused?
Sexual abuse can be difficult to spot as those who engage in these unlawful acts often choose to prey upon residents who are unable to communicate due to medical reasons. Allegations are sometimes overlooked as well when it involves a resident who suffers from dementia or can’t convey their thoughts clearly.
Because sexual abuse is sometimes ignored or overlooked, it is important for family members of nursing home residents to visit their loved ones regularly and always keep an eye out for any signs of sexual abuse. Some of the more common signs of sexual abuse include3:
- Physical Signs of Sexual Abuse
- A resident is diagnosed with a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) or infection that staffers cannot explain.
- Pain while using the restroom.
- Bloody or stained undergarments.
- Bleeding or irritation around the genitals.
- Difficulty walking or sitting for an extended period of time.
- Behavioral Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Anxiety about using the restroom.
- Abrupt change in mood.
- Refusing to discuss certain events with family members.
- Difficulty swallowing or has developed an unusual fear about having objects near their mouth.
- Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- They developed a fear of certain people.
- They appear to have an unusual relationship with a staffer.
Steps Family Members Should Take When They Suspect Their Loved One is a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home residents depend on staffers to provide them with the care and supervision they need to stay well and safe. Unfortunately, some of these individuals take advantage of an elderly individual’s vulnerability and subject them to various forms of abuse.
If you think your loved one is being sexually abused by a nursing home worker or even another resident, whether it is because you’ve noticed some of the signs listed above or because they told you, we encourage you to contact our firm at 1-312-384-1920. Our attorneys will work with you to get your loved one relocated to a safer place. Our qualified Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers will also review with you what legal options are available, if any, and help get the allegations reported to the proper agency.
When a family suspects their loved one is being sexually abused by a nursing home staffer, they need to act quickly to preserve any evidence that might be available. In the event we find you do have a case, we will be happy to defend your loved one’s rights and help them fight for the justice they deserve.
The Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. Are Ready To Help You and Your Loved One
If you’re ready to speak with a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer in Chicago, IL regarding a recent event that occurred at your relative’s nursing home or have questions you’d like answered by a legal professional, contact Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. today. Our firm offers free consultations and would be happy to address any concerns you might have.
You can contact Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. at:
221 North La Salle Drive, Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60601