Los Angeles Elder Sexual Abuse Attorney
If you or a family member has suffered sexual abuse as someone 60 or older, a compassionate Los Angeles elder sexual abuse attorney at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi can help. Our elder sexual abuse lawyers are passionate about defending the rights of sexual abuse survivors of all ages, but especially the most vulnerable victims: children and the elderly. Elder sexual abuse is a prevalent problem that impacts thousands of nursing homes and long-term living facilities around the country. You are not alone. We can help you fight for justice in Los Angeles. Contact us today for a free private consultation.
Why Trust Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for Your Elder Sexual Abuse Claim?
- We are one of the most successful sexual abuse and assault firms in California. John C. Manly is a Super Lawyer and one of the Los Angeles Daily Journal’s Top 100 Attorneys in California.
- We are proud to offer devoted and passionate civil lawyers who care about their clients. You will benefit from the undivided attention of your attorney every step of the way.
- We carefully protect the identities of our clients during sexual abuse cases, maintaining the highest standards of confidentiality from start to finish. We are dedicated to your peace of mind.
How Can a Los Angeles Elder Sexual Abuse Lawyer Help?
Shining light in dark places is what our law firm does best. We dedicate our careers to bringing bad people to justice. If a trusted caregiver, nursing home staff member, friend or family member abused you or someone in your family, you have rights. Our Los Angeles sexual abuse lawyers are experienced in handling elder sexual abuse cases and can help you protect and exercise these rights through a list of tailored legal services. We can help you identify the culprit, evaluate your damages, file an official claim, meet deadlines, collect evidence, build a comprehensive case strategy and more. Our law firm will handle the legwork of your elder abuse case while you and your family focus on healing.
What Is Elder Sexual Abuse?
Elder sexual abuse is any physical or sexual contact with an elderly person without that person’s consent or knowledge. It can also describe sexual contact with an elderly person who gives consent but who is not mentally capable to do so, such as a senior citizen who has dementia or is confused.
Many different acts, both major and minor, can constitute elder sexual abuse in California. Common examples include:
- Unwanted touching
- Sexual molestation
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Forced nudity
- Exposure of one’s sexual organs
- Sexual photography or exploitation
Any nonconsensual or unwanted sexual contact with someone who is 60 years old or older constitutes elder sexual abuse in California. This is a serious crime that can lead to a felony conviction, heavy fines and years in jail. In addition to criminal consequences, someone guilty of elder sexual abuse can also face civil liability, meaning he or she will be financially responsible for the victim’s injuries and losses, including pain and suffering.
Warning Signs of Elder Sexual Abuse
If you have someone close to you who qualifies as an elderly individual – especially if that person relies on a nursing home or caregiver – do your best to check in with him or her often. Frequent contact and communication with a senior citizen can help you quickly detect signs of something wrong, such as abuse or neglect. Let the individual know that he or she can talk with you about anything, including sexual abuse by a caregiver or relative. In the meantime, look out for common warning signs of elder sexual abuse:
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Bruising of the upper thighs or genital area
- Unexplained physical injuries
- Genital or pelvic injuries
- Stained, torn or bloody undergarments
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Emotional signs, such as depression or withdrawal
- Sudden decline in mental health
- Lack of enjoyment of daily activities
- Excessive anxiety or fear around a certain caregiver
- Panic or anxiety attacks
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
Although the presence of just one of these signs may not automatically mean elder sexual abuse, it is enough to warrant further investigation and you should consider speaking with a skilled elder sexual abuse lawyer in Los Angeles. If you notice multiple signs, involve the authorities right away and inform them of your suspicions. Being vigilant in paying attention to potential signs of elder sexual abuse could save a life.
Types of Elder Abuse Cases We Handle
In our years of experience, the Los Angeles elder sexual abuse attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi have helped survivors of many types of abuse. We have seen how devastating any kind of abuse can be to a senior citizen’s physical, mental and psychosocial health. Elder abuse can deteriorate a victim’s condition to the point of causing wrongful death. It can lead to serious physical and mental damages. Our lawyers can help victims after any type of elder abuse in Los Angeles.
- Sexual. Sexual elder abuse takes advantage of a vulnerable population in the worst way imaginable. Elder sexual abuse can leave signs such as physical injuries, genital injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, mental declines and mood changes.
- Physical. Physical elder abuse is the intentional use of force against senior citizens that results in injuries. Broken bones, slap marks, burns, lacerations, bruises, bedsores and infections could all point to physical abuse and/or elder neglect.
- Mental. An elderly individual suffering mental abuse could face isolation, retaliation, deprivation, verbal abuse, criticism or intimidation. Mental abuse could significantly deteriorate a victim’s cognitive abilities and affect the will to live.
- Financial. Financial abuse or exploitation is a common issue among the elderly. A perpetrator may use deceit, intimidation, abuse or scams to trick or force a victim into forfeiting funds or gifts, often leading to financial ruin for the victim.
Our elder sexual abuse lawyers in Los Angeles are here for you and your family during your time of need. We feel strongly about people who use and misuse the vulnerable elderly. Our firm will do everything in its power to achieve maximum compensation on your behalf. That includes wrongful death damages if you believe elder abuse ultimately contributed to your loved one’s death.
Elder Sexual Abuse Statistics
The rate of elder sexual abuse is much higher than most people realize. Sadly, this is a relatively common crime that takes place in many nursing homes, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, hospices, hospitals and from caregivers right at home. Elderly individuals are vulnerable to sexual abuse and assault due to the inability to fight back, as well as – in many cases – the inability to come forward.
Several elder sexual abuse statistics put this crime in perspective:
- Approximately 10% of all senior citizens in the US have experienced some form of abuse, including sexual, physical, verbal or financial abuse.
- Some estimates place the victimization rate as high as five million elderly individuals abused or neglected in some form each year.
- Only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse are reported to authorities, on average.
- In the majority of cases (almost 60%), perpetrators of elder abuse and neglect are family members. Adult children and spouses are the most common culprits.
- Elder abuse is rampant in nursing homes and similar facilities, with two out of three staff members committing abuse in the past year in one study.
- In the last 20 years, there have been more than 20,000 complaints of sexual abuse in nursing homes in the U.S. This translates to about three cases per day.
Despite being a prevalent crime, elder sexual abuse is widely underreported. Underreporting leads to elder sexual abuse statistics that – while shocking – still fall far short of what experts believe are the true numbers.
Many elderly sexual abuse victims are isolated, have no one to report the abuse to, or are too afraid of coming forward out of fear of retaliation or not being believed. This leads to thousands of survivors suffering in silence. In many cases, discovering elder sexual abuse is dependent on the vigilance of physicians, friends and family members.
Who Is Most at Risk of Elder Sexual Abuse?
In general, all senior citizens are more vulnerable to sexual abuse than other populations. They are often frail and cannot fight back. Some seniors, however, are even more at risk of suffering elder sexual abuse or assault due to conditions or traits that make them more helpless, exposed or defenseless than others. According to statistics, the following factors can increase a senior citizen’s risk of elder sexual abuse:
- Being female (elderly women are six times more at risk than men)
- Prior injuries or health conditions
- Physical disability
- Medical conditions that cause confusion or lack of awareness
- Mental health conditions
- Aphasia (the inability to communicate)
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s
- Isolation from other people
- Living in a nursing home
If your friend or family member fits into any of these categories, it is even more important to be vigilant about looking for the signs of elder sexual abuse. Speak to your loved one openly about the possibility of elder sexual abuse. Express that you are a trusted confidant who can help the victim. If you have any reason to suspect elder sexual abuse in Los Angeles, report it immediately and then consult with a local Los Angeles elder sexual abuse attorney.
How To Report Elder Sexual Abuse in Los Angeles
Reporting elder sexual abuse refers to a few different official processes. The first is informing the police. Call 911 in an emergency, such as if someone is in immediate danger of elder sexual abuse. Calling the police can protect the survivor as well as prompt experienced professionals to investigate the case. The police can connect the survivor to important resources, such as physicians and therapists, as well as arrest the alleged perpetrator. The police can then search for evidence against the perpetrator to support a criminal case.
Reporting elder sexual abuse also refers to notifying the nursing home or care facility, if applicable. If the survivor was in the care of a professional caregiver or long-term living facility, you should notify the establishment of what happened. This will create an official report of the incident in writing. The nursing home should cooperate with the police and terminate the staff member’s employment to help protect others. The nursing home may face vicarious liability for the crimes of an employee.
Finally, reporting elder sexual abuse refers to contacting the Ombudsman Program in your state. Call (800) 231-4024 to reach California’s CRISISline for elder sexual abuse cases. This hotline is open 24/7 to specifically take complaints regarding long-term care facilities. An Ombudsman representative can express the wishes of the survivor, review a report and investigate a potential case of sexual abuse at a nursing home – all at no cost to the survivor and while keeping the details of the case completely confidential.
What To Do if You Discover Elder Sexual Abuse
If you discover elder sexual abuse happening to someone in your life, take action to help the victim immediately. You may have the power to prevent further sexual abuse or assault, connect the survivor to the help he or she needs, and hold the perpetrator accountable. If you are the elder sexual abuse survivor, take the following steps yourself.
- Take your loved one out of harm’s way. Move the sexual abuse survivor out of the care of the caregiver or nursing home allegedly responsible.
- Go to a hospital. Take the victim to a doctor for a full checkup. A physician can treat any physical injuries and search for medical evidence of sexual assault.
- Seek assistance from a sexual abuse counselor. Set the survivor up with a therapist or professional who can help him or her cope with the psychological effects of sexual abuse.
- Document the crime. Ask the survivor to record details of the incident, if possible. Collect any incident reports, medical records, photographs, physical evidence and other documentation of sexual assault.
- Take photographs. If the survivor has any physical signs of elder sexual abuse, such as injuries or bruising, take photographs of them in the beginning and as they heal.
- Report elder sexual abuse to the authorities. In an emergency, call 911 to protect the victim. You should also report the incident to the caregiver and an elder abuse organization.
- Cooperate with a criminal case. If the perpetrator is facing criminal charges for elder sexual abuse, cooperate with the case as much as possible to increase the chances of a conviction.
- Contact an elder sexual abuse lawyer in Los Angeles. As soon as you are able, contact an elder abuse attorney near you for a free consultation. An attorney can help a survivor seek justice and financial compensation.
Elder sexual abuse is something no senior citizen should ever have to experience. Sadly, it is a reality for thousands of seniors each year. If you or someone you love has experienced elder sexual abuse in Los Angeles, get help right away. Consult with our elder sexual abuse attorneys for comprehensive care, starting with a confidential overview of your legal rights and options.
Free Consultation With an Elder Sexual Abuse Attorney in Los Angeles, CA
At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, we offer 100% free and confidential case evaluations in Los Angeles. We want victims of elder abuse to know an outlet for recovery may be available to them. We conduct interviews over the phone and in person at your home or hospital if you cannot come to our office. Our elder sexual abuse lawyers wish to fight for justice for every victim of elder abuse in Los Angeles. Contact us today for a private consultation about your potential case.