Minnesota Vulnerable Adult Sexual Abuse Attorney

Sexual abuse is a sensitive subject and can leave severe physical, mental, and emotional impacts on the victim. When vulnerable adults are sexually abused, the effects can be devastating. 

If you know a vulnerable adult who has experienced sexual abuse, understand they have the power to fight back. Contact an experienced vulnerable adult sexual abuse attorney who can help you retaliate and defend your loved one’s rights.

Who is Considered a Vulnerable Adult in Minnesota?

As Minnesota’s population ages and the number of Minnesotans with physical and cognitive impairments rises, the number of people who fit the label of “vulnerable adult” has increased. According to the Department of Justice, a vulnerable adult is any person 18 years of age or older who fits any of the following descriptions:

  • An adult who is a resident of an institution that is regulated under Civil Financial Exploitation Title 33, Chapter 71
  • An adult who is a patient at a psychiatric hospital or a hospital’s psychiatric unit
  • An adult who has been receiving personal care services from a Department of Health-certified home health agency or from a person or organization that offers, provides, or arranges for personal care for more than one month
  • A person who is disabled as a result of brain damage, aging, mental illness, or a physical, psychological, or developmental disability

In cases where the person is disabled, they must meet one of two stipulations to be legally considered a vulnerable adult:

  • The disability impairs the individual’s capacity to care for themselves, including shelter, health care, and financial management.
  • The individual’s ability to protect themselves against abuse, neglect, or exploitation is harmed due to their condition or infirmity.

If you are unsure if your loved one’s condition falls into this category, consult a sexual abuse attorney for further information.

What is Sexual Abuse of a Vulnerable Adult in Minnesota?

Sexual abuse of a vulnerable person is the rape or sexual assault of a person who is cognitively or physically impaired or unable to consent. Vulnerable adults are typically elderly persons or persons with a disability. Because they are unable or unlikely to disclose their abuse, vulnerable people are often seen as targets. 

Victims of sexual abuse commonly know the perpetrators, as they are often in a position of authority or trust in the victim’s life. According to data from the United States Marshals Service’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, 83% of disabled females and 32% of disabled males have been sexually assaulted.

What is the Minnesota Vulnerable Adults Act?

The Minnesota Vulnerable Adults Act was enacted in 1980 and specifies procedures for reporting alleged maltreatment of vulnerable adults to government entities, investigating maltreatment claims, and providing vulnerable adults with protective services. The act aims to keep vulnerable adults safe in their residence while they receive health care and supportive services. The act defines who is considered a vulnerable adult, who is obliged or permitted to report maltreatment, and what constitutes maltreatment, including abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

What Can I Do if I Suspect Vulnerable Adult Sexual Abuse?

When you have reason to believe a loved one is being sexually abused, handling it can be emotionally distressing. If you suspect a vulnerable adult in your life is experiencing sexual abuse, you should consider doing the following:

  • Privately talk to the person you believe is experiencing the abuse. Stay calm, be compassionate, and listen carefully. Try to not promise them you won’t tell anyone what they say.
  • Tell them who can help and what resources are available.
  • Allow them time to consider their options, unless you’re concerned for their immediate health and safety and believe it’s critical to act immediately.
  • Offer to ask for help on their behalf if it’s too difficult for them to do so on their own.

If an adult has disclosed they have been sexually abused, you should speak with other people who know them to see if they have had similar concerns. Ideally, you should contact professionals who are experienced in handling these situations:

  • Their doctor
  • A social worker
  • Emergency services
  • Local authorities
  • An attorney

Get information about who is suspected to be sexually assaulting the victim first. For instance, if they’re in a long term care facility you want to ensure it’s not the caretakers who are abusing them before consulting the staff of the facility directly.

Get Legal Help from an Experienced Minnesota Vulnerable Adult Sexual Abuse Attorney

Sexual abuse is a heinous act, especially when it occurs to people who cannot fully defend themselves. No matter how it occurred, you should always consider contacting a lawyer to help you retaliate against your loved one’s abuser. Obtaining legal help from an attorney who is experienced in handling vulnerable adult sexual abuse cases can help you get justice for your loved one’s mistreatment and receive compensation for their care as a result.

Knutson + Casey is here to help you and your loved one fight for recovered damages for medical expenses, as well as the pain and suffering you both endured because of this abuse. We have years of experience righting wrongs for people who have been abused, so rest assured we will be in your corner throughout this process. To learn more about how we can help, contact us online through our contact form or call us at (507) 344-8888.