Sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual contact by one person upon another. It may happen as the result of deceiving, manipulating, or forcing the resident into sexual contact. Sexual abuse is a form of elder abuse that frequently goes underreported, under-investigated, and unnoticed. In 2016, Ombudsman programs investigated 819 complaints regarding sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse can take on many forms and includes:
- Unwanted intimate touching of any kind, especially to breasts or genital area;
- Rape, oral or anal sex;
- Forced nudity;
- Forced observation of masturbation and/or pornography; and
- Taking sexually explicit photographs or audio/video recordings of a resident and distributing them online or in-person. This includes pictures or recordings of residents that are not fully clothed while they are being cared for (bathing, dressing, etc.).
“Unfortunately, the sexual abuse of elders is poorly understood and under-researched. The elderly victims of sexual abuse often have medical problems that result in difficulties communicating, confusion, or memory loss — all of which interfere with the ability of the elder to report the abuse.”
“Elder sexual abuse is defined as an action against an elder that is unwanted and sexual in origin. It usually involves those older than 60 years of age.” – SOURCE: Nursing Home Abuse Center