Unfortunately, child sexual abuse in the United States is an epidemic. Try watching the news to find a day where there is no story of a child be sexually assaulted or abused. Whether the abuse occurs at the hands of a family member, teacher, mentor, or any other trusted person in the child’s life the effects will scar the child for life. Over the past year, many states have passed laws that extend the time, or statute of limitations, for victims of child sexual abuse to allow victims to begin the healing process before facing their abuser in court. At the Derek Smith Law Group, our experienced team of former sex-crimes prosecutors and sexual harassment attorneys understand the deep concerns, fears, and issues associated with facing your abuser in court. For over 25 years, we have helped our clients recover the compensation they deserve for the horrific experiences they endured.
What Is Child Sexual Abuse?
Child sexual abuse is exactly as it sounds. It is an adult of age participating in sexual acts or performing sexual acts on a minor child under the age of 18. Child sexual abuse is not simply intercourse. It includes sexual contact, comments, voyeurism, and other verbal and physical sexual actions. Examples of child sexual abuse include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual Assault using foreign objects
- Possession of child pornography
- Taking nude photos of a child
- Forcing a child to view pornographic material
- Oral sex
- Touching a child’s genitals, breasts, or other intimate areas
- Vaginal or anal penetration with a finger or penis
- Discussing sexually specific things with a child
Who Are the Victims of Child Sexual Abuse?
The statistics regarding child sexual abuse are appalling. The reality, as reported by the Crimes Against Children Research Center shows that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are sexually abused as children. Further statistics show that 16% of children ages 14 to 17 are sexually assaulted with one year. The most vulnerable ages, according to these statistics are children age 7 through 13.
Who Commits Child Sexual Abuse Acts?
Child sexual abuse is typically committed by a trusted adult. These adults are either trusted by the child because they are relatives and caretakers, or because society says they can be trusted. Many times, the people committing these horrific crimes are highly regarded within the community. Some of the most common perpetrators of child sexual abuse may be:
- Scout leaders
- Family members (aunt, uncle, mother, father, cousin, brother, sister, grandparent, etc.)
- Family friends
- Daycare providers
- Healthcare providers (doctors, nurses, dentists, therapists, etc.)
- Society influencers (celebrities, business leaders, government officials, etc.)
What Are the Rights of Victims of Child Sexual Abuse?
Until recently, victims of child sexual abuse had a very limited statute of limitations to file a lawsuit or criminal action. That has been changing. New York City was the first municipality to change the law and other states and municipalities are quickly following suit. Since statistics have shown that many victims of child sexual abuse do not even come forward until the age of 52, many laws have allowed civil lawsuits against abusers to be filed up until the victim reaches age 55.
If the victim wished to file a separate criminal action, the statute of limitations in New York City is now five years after the victim’s 23 birthday. Each state has its own laws regarding the statute of limitations; however, many laws are beginning to change to match New York City.
Some key points to remember include:
- You do not have to file or win a criminal case to file and/or win a civil case
- In criminal court, you are witness and may get restitution, but the key is to put the criminal in jail or provide an acceptable punishment
- In civil court you are a party to the case, and you are looking for compensation and justice
Contact Our Experienced Child Sexual Abuse Attorneys
You have a right to make your abuser face justice and get help in paying your medical expenses as well as compensation for the horrors you endured. While no amount of money will erase what occurred, getting justice can help the healing process. If you are the victim of child sexual abuse the experienced team of former sex-crimes prosecutors at the Derek Smith Law Group in New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, New Jersey, and Los Angeles can help. Contact us today at (800) 807-2209 for your free consultation. We will never take a dime until we help you win your case.