May 12, 2011

SWEDEN: Nursing home hushed sex abuse claims

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden / The Local / Society / May 12, 2011

Despite repeated reports from employees that an elderly patient suffering from Alzheimer's was the victim of sexual abuse by another patient, the head of a nursing home in northern Sweden declined to inform the police, according to a report by Sveriges Television (SVT).

It took up to five days after the abuse came to light before a report was filed and relatives were informed, according to SVT's Uppdrag Granskning programme broadcast on Wednesday evening.

The man accused of perpetrating the abuse is in his eighties and faced a court in LuleĆ„ in northern Sweden on Wednesday. He was today brought to justice with a litany of abuse. The elderly man denied the crimes.

The court ruled that he undergo a so-called Section 7-examination before the trial concludes. Section 7 refers to a personal examination by psychiatrists.

After finally having been informed of the abuse, the spouse of the female victim asked that she move accommodation but was told that it was not necessary.

"No", said a manager. He would not be able to do anything," her husband told Uppdrag Granskning.

According to SVT, the nursing home has not informed her husband nor her family that the man accused of perpetrating the abuse is still resident in the same department as the woman.

The head of the nursing explained that it was not possible to divulge the information:

"No, not as it is two customers who are staying with us and there is a privacy issue. But we must ensure that this does not occur."

The responsible nurse at the home agrees that the home is not at liberty to tell.

"We can not violate the Official Secrets Act."

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)