Child abuse can have serious and long-lasting impacts on the victim for the remainder of his or her life.
In 2016 alone, Child Protective Services agencies substantiated, or found strong evidence to indicate, that approximately 57,329 minors were victims of sexual abuse. Victims are more likely to experience the following physical and mental health challenges:
- 4 times more likely to abuse drugs
- 4 times more likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder as adults
- 3 times more likely to experience major depressive episodes as adults
It is also not uncommon for victims to act out aggressively, require ongoing therapy to help deal with their issues, or to experience trust issues. These are serious consequences of sexual assault that are both costly and that can have a lasting impact on the victim’s life. If you know a minor that has been sexually assaulted, then you need experienced child abuse lawyers to help you navigate through a convoluted area of child molestation claims, which include many different types of legal liability.
For example, statutory rape, known in Florida as unlawful sexual activity with a minor, occurs when one party has sexual contact with a person who is not of the age of consent. This is a strict liability crime, meaning a lack of knowledge is not a defense, and civil liability can be imposed as well. In Florida, the age of consent is 18. However, Florida has varying levels of liability and exceptions for unlawful sexual activity with a minor. If a person is between 19 and 23, for example, and has a relationship with a 16-year-old, then, under Florida law, a “Romeo and Juliet” exception protects the older person. The same applies when a person is 14–18 years old and there is consensual sexual contact with a person no more than four years older than the younger party. Different rules apply when one party is older than 24 and the child is between 13–15 years old, and another set of rules applies if the child is under 13.
To get compensation, the parents or guardians of the minor victim need to find a child abuse lawyer who can help sue for damages. The victim themselves can also file suit, but only when he or she turns 18 and prior to turning 25 years old. Navigating these various categories and issues requires child abuse attorneys who have experience pressing these claims against perpetrators and those who aid and abet them, such as schools or religious organizations.
Child sexual abuse can occur in many different settings. If you or a loved one was the victim of child sexual abuse, you need to determine if any company, business, organization, agency, or religious organization is to blame. Many believe that the only option is to file criminal charges in situations of child sexual abuse. However, legal action can be taken against organizations that facilitated the abuse, failed to take reasonable steps to protect the children in its care, or put the abuser in a position to commit this crime. These crimes can occur at schools, day cares, camps, religious institutions, by babysitters, and in athletic and recreational organizations. Just as adults can recover financial compensation in personal injury lawsuits, victims of child sexual abuse can seek damages from those responsible.
Victims of child sexual abuse should not go uncompensated for their emotional damages and physical injuries. Oftentimes child-victims can proceed anonymously as a “John or Jane Doe” to protect their privacy. These claims can, many times, be settled quickly and confidentially out of court with the right child abuse attorney.
If you or a loved one has been injured, you need to consult an experienced child abuse attorney because there will be a statute of limitations that applies to your claim, meaning you have to bring your claim within a certain time or it could be gone forever. Our sexual abuse attorneys have the experience and resources to help victims of sexual assault seek maximum compensation for their injuries against the organizations and institutions that allowed the abuse to occur.Back to Sexual Assault and Abuse