Source: National Center on Elder Abuse
Nursing homes in Chicago, Illinois have made news for all the wrong reasons in recent years. As inexplicable as it seems, rampant sexual abuse and physical assault has been reported in 1 in 4 Chicago nursing homes at a rate of at least three cases per month, according to an investigative report by the Chicago Tribune. Of 86 cases, only 1 arrest was made.
The nursing home abuse attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. in Chicago utilize legal and medical resources at our disposal to protect the physical and emotional well-being of clients victimized by sexual abuse in an Illinois nursing home. Our attorneys will move to identify those responsible and to hold them legally and financially accountable. Our staff will work in conjunction with you, your family, investigators and law enforcement to determine the best course of action to protect your legal rights.
The Tribune investigation uncovered 86 reports of criminal sexual assault or rape in 30 of Chicago’s 119 nursing homes between July 2007 and January 2010. Another 10 cases went unreported or were reported months after the fact. Those preying on elderly victims included other residents, nursing home employees and even visitors.
Contributing factors included residents who are mentally ill or convicted felons (a consequence of Illinois’ reliance upon nursing homes to house such offenders) and chronic under-staffing in most of the 30 homes where violations were reported. Additionally, while the state and federal closure rate for sex crimes hovers around 25 percent, the arrest and conviction rate of sexual assaults in Chicago nursing homes barely topped 1 percent.
And the National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that five cases of elder abuse go unreported for each case that is brought to the attention of authorities. Tragically, many cases of physical or sexual abuse go undiscovered or are not prosecuted because of the Alzheimer’s, dementia or other physical or mental limitations of the victims. In other cases, a resident does not report physical or sexual assault out of fear of retaliation or because they do not want to burden friends or family members.
The frightening truth of physical and sexual assault is that it is occurring in a large number of Illinois nursing homes, often without the knowledge of the outside world. Additionally, this conduct is believed to be drastically under-reported because victims do not have access to the help or resources they need. Many residents do not have family members that visit regularly while others suffer from mental deficiencies that do not allow them to report mistreatment.
Legal Relief for Victims of Nursing Home Physical and Sexual Assault
No one should have to fear for their personal safety when they entrust their care to others, and this includes residents of nursing homes and extended care facilities. Families often make the difficult decision to place their loved one in a home because they believe that the facility will provide the care needed and deserved by their loved one. Yet when the intentional actions of an owner, employee, fellow resident, or even a guest leave these elderly residents victimized, the damages can be immeasurable.
Nothing can erase the emotional and physical scarring caused by abuse and assault of a nursing home resident but those responsible can be held liable for their conduct. In addition to criminal charges brought by the State of Illinois, victims and their family members may be able to make a financial recovery to compensate them for their losses, including the suffering the victim was forced to endure. In many instances, multiple claims may be possible against multiple defendants including a nursing home itself, a responsible employee, and any superiors, owners, or co-workers who acted negligently.
The Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. believe that it is incumbent upon each of us to do whatever we can to protect elderly residents confined to the care of a nursing home or assisted-living facility. If you suspect physical or sexual assault or abuse is occurring in a Chicago nursing home, or if you or a loved one has been abused, contact us today to discuss your rights. There are no attorney fees unless you win and everything discussed will be kept confidential. We are standing by 24 hours a day to take your call toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575 and to provide you with a free case consultation. If you suspect wrongdoing, do not hesitate; call us today and let us help you and your family obtain the relief you deserve.
If you believe your loved one is suffering from physical or sexual abuse or assault while in a nursing home in the Chicago, IL area, request a Free Case Consultation or Call (855) LAW-CHICAGO today to speak with a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer.