Justice for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
There may be no hurt more profound than the pain of suffering sexual abuse at a young age—particularly when the perpetrator is a trusted adult in the clergy, or another person in a position of authority. In many cases, survivors of these terrible acts of assault live with a lifetime of uncertainty, distrust, and instability. Depression, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), substance abuse, self-destructive behavior, and trouble with adult relationships are all part of the sad array of consequences that can emerge after a boy, girl, or teenager suffers this trauma.
The criminal justice and civil court rules did not help. For years, many survivors of abuse had no recourse to seek justice for the harm done, and many understandably remained silent as a result. The short statute of limitations on prosecuting such a crime, or exacting justice for it in civil proceedings, often meant that survivors who had hidden or buried their feelings of violation for years—out of misplaced sense of shame or out of legitimate fear—might be years past the deadline when they were finally ready to disclose and act upon what had happened to them, or even to talk about it out loud.
But now, it is all changing.
New York and New Jersey have recently changed the rules, so that many survivors of abuse can exact justice in civil court, even years after the abuse occurred. In New York, people who were abused as minors and are prepared to move forward in the courts have until July 31, 2020 to find a lawyer and file a claim. In New Jersey, similarly, a new window has opened to allow survivors to seek redress for past wrongs. The window for claims opened on December 1, 2019. Other states may follow.
Read more about clergy abuse lawsuits in:
If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse, you have the right to be heard and to receive justice. We are here to help sexual abuse survivors of any age. Contacting us is free and confidential.
While the child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church may be receiving the most news coverage, it occurs in many other places including:
- Churches & other religious institutions
- Private schools
- Sports teams
- Community groups
The Boy Scouts have recently been criticized for years of coverups they may have participated in and more victims are considering legal action against Boy Scouts of America.
Child Sexual Abuse is not limited to sexual assault but may include:
- Verbal sexual harassment
- Lewd comments or gestures
- Exposure to pornographic images or videos
- Provision of alcohol or drugs while encouraging sexual behavior
- Unwanted touching with or without clothes
- Sexual assault
- Statutory rape
- Threats to hide abuse
Compensation for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
Whether they were abused by clergy, teachers, coaches or other adults, child sexual abuse survivors deserve justice.
The Catholic Church and other institutions have announced plans to establish compensation funds that they administer. Survivors should know that taking compensation or receiving services arranged by one of these funds may prevent them from benefitting from future recovery efforts or changes in the law.
Each survivor of child sexual abuse has a right to seek compensation for medical and counseling expenses, lost wages, and for the pain and suffering they have experienced and should have their case evaluated by an experienced attorney.