Most people in Salem have likely heard that abuse can be a problem that residents face in nursing homes. Yet when monitoring the safety of the loved ones they have living in such facilities, they typically limit their concern to physical abuse or neglect. Sexual abuse is likely something that they either do not believe is a problem or do not know how to spot the signs of potential abuse.

Information shared by the National Center on Elder Abuse does indeed list sexual abuse among the types of abuse that is reported to be occurring among 10 percent of the population of nursing home residents. Yet like other abuse, it is believed to be significantly under-reported. Victims of it could be too embarrassed to talk about it with their loved ones. Some might lack the mental capacity to adequately share what is happening to them. Others might even let their want of companionship compel them to keep quiet about abuse so as to not upset their abusers.

Sexual abuse in nursing homes can be a perpetrated by both staff members and fellow residents. The family members of friends of abuse victims therefore need to be on the lookout for behavioral patterns that might indicate the presence of an abuser. Staff members or residents acting in an infatuated or inappropriate manner towards their loved ones could be a sign that abuse is occurring, as can their loved suddenly beginning to act sexually aggressive towards others.

According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, obvious physical signs of sexual abuse in nursing homes can include:

  • Pelvic injuries
  • Irritation, bruising or bleeding around the genitals or anus
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Bloody or torn undergarments

Another sign (a much more obvious one) might be a resident developing a sexually transmitted disease.