Signs & Symptoms of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Home Residents

On Wednesday, we posted the findings from CNN’s Investigative Report Sick, Dying and Raped in America’s Nursing Homes. The stories and facts discussed in the report are tragic and the reality that these violations are increasingly happening to our loved ones has haunted us. As a reminder, the elder abuse attorneys at Levin & Perconti would like to share the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse in the elderly. The information below is courtesy of The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care.

Physical indicators of sexual abuse include:

  • Bruises around inner thighs, the genital area or breasts
  • Unexplained genital infections or venereal disease
  • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding, pain or irritation
  • New difficulty sitting or walking
  • Torn, stained or bloodied underclothing
  • An elder’s report of being sexually assaulted or raped

Social indicators of sexual abuse include:

  • Extreme agitation
  • Withdrawal from social interactions
  • Panic attacks or emerging post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms
  • Suicide attempts
  • Unusual behavior between the victim and the elder sexual abuse suspect

According to, those suffering from dementia will exhibit anxiety or excessive fear around the person providing or tending to their care. They may also engage in more aggressive behaviors.

Listen and Observe
We encourage you to not overlook any of the aforementioned symptoms. Many families are afraid that they are imagining things. Many have even heard complaints of abuse from their loved ones, but can’t imagine that something this horrific would actually happen while under the care of a facility whose duty it is to take care of the elderly. A warning sign or mention of any form of abuse, whether physical, sexual or emotional in nature, is a violation. Our loved ones deserve to live their golden years with dignity.


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