Child sexual abuse in New Jersey is an ongoing epidemic that seems to only be getting worse. However, under the new bill signed into law in February 2019, as of December of 2019, any adult who was a victim of child sexual abuse has an expanded statute of limitations. More importantly, starting December 2019, if you were told your statute of limitations ran out to file a claim for child sexual abuse, you have 2 years to file a claim, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred or your current age. For the past 25 years, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped child sexual abuse victims get the compensation and justice they deserve.
Child sexual abuse in New Jersey occurs when a minor between the ages of 0 and 17 is sexually engaged, whether through physical acts, communications, or exploitive measures, by a person age 18 or older. Some examples of child sexual abuse include the following acts involving a minor:
- Vaginal or anal penetration with a penis, finger, or other objects
- Oral sex
- Sexual exploitation
- Possession of Child pornography
- Taking nude photos or videos of children
- Enabling or forcing a child to perform sexual acts
- Showing a child pornographic material
- Public display of explicit images
- Touching genitals, breasts or other intimate areas
- Sexually explicit emails
- Talking about sexually explicit things that are developmentally inappropriate for the child’s age
Victims of child sexual abuse can carry the pain of their ordeal for the rest of their lives. The effects of child sexual abuse can be physical, emotional, and psychological. Many of these victims never knew what many know as a normal childhood and are working to learn a new normal that helps them move forward in their lives and find a way to be a survivor. Effects of child sexual abuse can be, but are not limited to:
- Shame that they caused the abuse in some way (they did not)
- Shame that something is wrong with them
- Low self-esteemNightmares
- Night terrors
- Fear of people
- Lack of trust
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe depression
- Substance AbuseBruising
- Permanent injury to genitals or reproductive organs
Victims of child sexual abuse in New Jersey are any minor child between the ages of 0 and 17. The individuals are of every gender, race, national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic status, and more. In other words, child sexual abuse does not discriminate against anyone and the person on your left and right could both be victims of child sexual abuse.
As a matter of fact, the New Jersey YMCA Alliance says that there are over 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse. As a matter of fact, of all of the sexual assault reported to the authorities, over 70% of the victims are children.
Under New Jersey’s new law, beginning December 2019, a victim of child sexual assault can file a claim in civil court up until his or her 55th birthday or within 7 years of realizing there was damage suffered as a result of the child sexual assault. Additionally, any person who previously attempted to file a lawsuit for child sexual assault and was denied because of the statute of limitations has 2 years to file that claim, regardless of age.
Most child sexual abuse perpetrators are trusted adults to their child victims. As a matter of fact, over 90% of victims of child sexual abuse know the abuser. These abusers get to know the child and groom him or her because the abuser is a trusted adult.
Some of the most common adult influences in a child’s life to perpetrate child sexual abuse are, but not limited to:
• Scout leaders
• Religious leaders
• Priests and clergy
• Family members, such as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
• Family friends
• Daycare providers and employees
• Healthcare providers, such as doctors, nurses, dentists, etc.
• Societal influencers, such as celebrities, athletes, business leaders, government officials, etc.
Child sexual abuse may occur at the hands of one person, but fault can lie within the entire village. Many times, other adults who are meant to protect children fail at their job, allowing the children to be more vulnerable or allowing child sexual abusers to move from victim to victim. These people are accomplices in the crimes and should be included in any civil lawsuit.
Some of these types of people may be:
• Property owners who refuse to obtain requested security measures
• Therapists that do not report signs of child sexual abuse or signs of a perpetrator
• School administrators who do not report signs of child sexual abuse
• An agency or government agency that ignores reports of suspected abuse
• An adult that should be supervising a child around other adults
• An accomplice that is aiding the abuser
In New Jersey criminal courts, a person committing child sexual abuse against a victim under the age of 13 or between the ages of 13 and 16 and you have some type of control over them, like a family member, is committing aggravated sexual assault. The sentence is up to 20 years in prison.
If the victim is ages 13 to 17, or between 16 and 18 and a family member, you are committing sexual assault, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
All convicted offenders of child sexual assault must register with the National sex offender registry.
In civil court, victims of child sexual assault are entitled to monetary remedies that can be used to help them cover expenses and move on with their lives.
Some of the available remedies include:
• Reimbursement of medical bills
• Reimbursement of therapy and counseling payments
• Attorney’s fees
• Loss of income
• Reimbursement for stolen or damaged property
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional distress
• Punitive damages
It truly takes a village to help a child or an adult who was the victim of child sexual abuse recover and move on to a better life. Below are some resources available to help you move past the trauma and become a survivor.
- Lauren’s Kids. Lauren’s Kids provides education and guidance to help victims of child sexual abuse
- Kristi House. Kristi House provides numerous resources to victims of child sexual abuse and their families.
- RAINN. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network helps children who are or were victims of sexual abuse find the resources needed to help move on and make a better life, such as therapists, attorneys, and even a hotline that can help when you are having a hard day.
- Darkness to Light. This national organization that helps children and their families find the organizations, therapists, and other resources to help the child regain their lives after experiencing sexual abuse.
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. This is a network that provides evaluations and necessary therapies for child sexual abuse victims.
- Stop It Now. Stop It Now helps adult survivors of child sexual abuse find the organizations with the resources to help them move on from their abuse experience.
No child should ever have to lose their childhood because a monster decided to take their innocence in the form of child sexual abuse. If you or a loved one has been the victim of child sexual abuse, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group in New Jersey can help. Contact us today at (973) 388-8625 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.