Sexual abuse is devastating to its victims, whether it occurs at the hands of a family member, mentor, teacher, caregiver, or stranger. The mental and emotional scars left in the wake of sexual abuse can last a lifetime.
Our sexual abuse attorneys have extensive experience bringing cases against schools, summer camps, bus companies, colleges, and universities throughout the country. We hold authorities and institutions that enable sexual abuse and assault accountable through civil litigation.
HOLDING ABUSERS ACCOUNTABLE
While the legal definition varies by state and type, it is generally understood that sexual abuse involves unwanted sexual contact. Cases of abuse typically involve inappropriate use of power, and a number of factors can contribute:
Authority: Individuals holding a position of inherent authority sexually abuse others by taking advantage of the authoritative dynamic. An example of this would be a teacher becoming sexually involved with a student. The student may feel obligated to take part in the abuse simply because the teacher holds a role of power.
Age: Acts that involve an adult and a minor are despicable acts; children are victimized simply because they are too young to protect themselves from the assault. Research has found that those who suffer sexual abuse as a child are more likely to develop depression, anxiety, addictions, and personality disorders.
Physical size: A larger physical presence can be exerted as a form of influence. Smaller individuals may shy away from stopping sexual abuse out of fear of a physical confrontation.
Coercion: Children and mentally handicapped individuals can be especially vulnerable to sexual assault. Perpetrators often concoct stories to explain their behavior and discourage reporting.
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Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Damage done by sexual abuse is not just physical; oftentimes, the mental and emotional impact of sexual abuse continues for many years or even a lifetime. Those who have been abused might develop unhealthy ideas about sexual relationships that can cause destructive behaviors and emotional distress.
Signs that a child has been sexually abused may include:
- Abrupt changes in behavior, sometimes affecting the quality of schoolwork.
- Depression and low self-esteem. A low sense of self-worth.
- Sexually acting out for their age. Promiscuous behavior, unnatural interest in subjects of a sexual nature.
When children show symptoms of sexual abuse, professionals have a duty to report those behaviors and protect the child. Health professionals, police, teachers, school employees, social workers, and others have an obligation to assure the mental and physical safety of the children they watch over. Unfortunately, our lawyers have seen many cases of institutional disregard for the safety of children or others who are in their care.
Take Legal Action Now
Sexual abusers must be held accountable; likewise, people in a position of authority, who fail to protect those in their care, must also be held responsible for what happens on their watch.
If you or a loved one are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse suffered at a church, summer camp, youth recreation program, school, religious organization, or other institution, we may be able to help you recover compensation for the pain and psychological issues your abuse may have caused.
Our dedicated sexual assault lawyers have experience taking on predators who take advantage of innocent individuals. We have won substantial settlements for our clients and are ready to fight for you.