Mental Health Facility Sexual Abuse Lawyers in Pennsylvania

A Woman in a Mental Health Center Suffering from Sexual Abuse Lawyers in Pennsylvania

Individuals suffering from mental illness should never feel unsafe while undergoing treatment at a healthcare facility.

Unfortunately, some mental health patients suffer sexual abuse at the hands of other patients or by hospital staff. Because mental health patients are vulnerable and typically need help completing routine tasks, employees or other patients may take advantage of such individuals and abuse them physically or sexually.

Due to the stigma surrounding mental illness in America, many abused patients feel alone or abandoned. Some are frightened or unable to speak out.

If you believe someone you love is the victim of sexual abuse at a mental health facility in Pennsylvania, nationally acclaimed civil rights firm, Andreozzi & Foote, PC, is ready to advocate for their rights.

UPDATE: HB 963 to extend the statute of limitations on sexual abuse

Sexual abuse of patients by other patients

Sexual abuse of patients by patients is a very serious and real problem that must be addressed in America’s mental health facilities. Across the country, many institutions still follow a mixed-sex ward setup — men and women are housed together.

While adopting single sex wards exclusively will not eradicate sexual abuse among patients, it will undoubtedly reduce the number of instances.

The mental health charity MIND published a policy paper titled Stress on Women in 1992 that looked at the issues female mental patients faced on a regular basis and published the recount of one patient:

“I and a number of other women I know have had very bad experiences on mixed wards. A friend of mine was raped, and I was harassed to death by men and the staff never intervened. The average male response was ‘It’s all your fault’. You only had to say, ‘good morning’ and you were told this was a come on.

The staff think women being there will make the men behave better and that if men behave badly, it’s the fault of women. … Because of this appalling state of affairs, I couldn’t stay in hospital. Now when I feel very depressed, I stay with a friend. The situation in the hospital was so awful, I’d never go back there—you can’t be ill in peace.”

If you or a loved one has suffered sexual abuse while under the supervision of a mental hospital, do not remain silent. You are a victim, and you have rights.

Psychiatric sex abuse increase

One of the primary reasons sexual abuse in mental institutions is increasing is due to inadequate supervision. The number of patients in a mental health facility can vary at any given time.

However, because of the pandemic, and other circumstances, many institutions are seeing a sudden increase in patients. Yet the number of staff, orderlies, and nurses, often remains the same.

At the end of the day, it is a matter of simple math — there are not enough trained staff to watch the number of patients. Factor in the reality that many mental health institutions conduct their own internal investigations, and it is easy to see why sexual abuse not only persists but is increasing.

Staff Members sexual abusing patients

Disturbingly, psychiatric hospital staff may also sexually abuse patients. In some cases, even doctors may assault vulnerable patients.

Victims of sexual abuse often feel powerless to speak out against staff or doctors because they fear their accusations will be dismissed.

It is also important to understand that patients in mental facilities don’t have access to phones, and typically are not permitted to have family visits. This type of isolation can cause victimized patients to feel helpless, depressed, and suicidal.

If you suspect a family member may be suffering at the hands of a doctor, nurse, or orderly, seek competent legal help immediately.

Sexual assault reports ignored by state run mental hospitals

The ugly truth is that sexual assault reports are being dismissed by mental health hospitals.

In California for example, the Center for Investigative Reporting discovered that between 2009 and 2012, developmentally disabled patients had made 36 reports of molestation and rape against staff in state-run inpatient institutions.

The Office of Protective services, which handles such complaints, did not investigate a single accusation — not one forensic examination or rape kit was ordered even though mental patients often have difficulty communicating.

Civil lawsuits against psychiatric sexual abuse

America’s mental healthcare facilities are failing society. If they don’t care, and the state refuses to investigate sexual abuse cases, where do victims turn? The civil court.

With the guidance of a skilled attorney, victims and their families can file lawsuits against hospitals, doctors, staff, insurers, etc., to not only end the abuse, but recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, psychiatric treatment expenses, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

Highly acclaimed civil firm protects the rights of mental health patients

At Andreozzi & Foote, PC, we are proud to champion for the rights of mental health patients who suffer sexual abuse at hands of other patients, staff, orderlies, nurses, or doctors.

To schedule a free consultation with a compassionate civil attorney at one of our office locations in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, call us at 1-877-214-3238 or contact us online today.

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