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Sexual Child Abuse

Sexual Child Abuse

“More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way.” — Childhelp USA

Sexual abuse and molestation occurs in numerous forms and affects a multitude of families and children each year. Parents trust caretakers, such as daycare workers, teachers, and others, to care for their children each and every day. Sadly, when the unthinkable happens, it can cause a lifetime of emotional, mental, and physical pain for children of all ages. No one deserves to be a victim of sexual abuse.

The following information is provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Darkness to Light.

WHO CONDUCTS CHILD SEX ABUSE?

Statistics show that 30% of abusers are related to the victims, 10% are strangers, and an overwhelming majority (60%) are known to the victim but are not family members. This group includes adults that the child may know, trust, and even love.

WHERE DOES CHILD SEX ABUSE OCCUR?

Most sexual child abuse (84% for children under 12) occurs at the home/residence of either the victim or the perpetrator. However, abuse can occur anywhere. Other common places include:

  • Church
  • Church trips
  • School (Public)
  • School (Private)
  • Sports practice
  • Out of town school trips
  • Dance classes (ballet etc.)
  • After school care facilities
  • Camping trips (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts)
  • Private music lessons (in schools, at private facilities)

WHEN DOES CHILD SEX ABUSE OCCUR?

While sexual abuse of a child can occur at any time of day or night, research shows there are certain times when abuse is more prevalent.

  • During school hours (8 am, 12 noon)
  • Immediately following school (3-4 pm)
  • In late evening hours (a peak time for children ages 12-17)

HOW DO CHILDREN GET MANIPULATED?

  • Gifts
  • Money
  • Trust
  • Secret-keeping
  • Emotional bullying
  • Emotional threats
  • Threats of violence
  • Switching responsibility to the child
  • Addition and withdrawal of inducements (attention, material goods, privileges)
  • Misrepresentation of society’s morals or the abusive acts themselves
COMMON SIGNS OF SEXUAL ABUSE

If a young child shows any of the physical or emotional changes listed below, he or she could be a victim of sexual abuse.

  • Waking up during the night sweating, screaming or shaking with nightmares.
  • Showing unusually aggressive behavior toward family members, friends, toys, and pets.
  • Complaining of pain while urinating or having a bowel movement, or exhibiting symptoms of genital infections, such as offensive odors, or symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease.
  • Having symptoms indicating evidence of physical traumas to the genital or anal area.
  • Beginning wetting the bed.
  • Experiencing a loss of appetite or other eating problems, including unexplained gagging.
  • Showing unusual fear of a certain place or location.
  • Developing frequent unexplained health problems.
  • Having unexplained periods of panic, which may be flashbacks from the abuse.
  • Regressing to behaviors too young for the stage of development they already achieved.
  • Initiating sophisticated sexual behaviors.
  • Indicating a sudden reluctance to be alone with a certain person.
  • Engaging in self-mutilations, such as sticking themselves with pins or cutting themselves.
  • Withdrawing from previously enjoyable activities, like school or school performance change.
  • Asking an unusual amount of questions about human sexuality.
WHO CAN BE HELD RESPONSIBLE?

Several persons and parties may be responsible for child molestation—whether they committed the abuse themselves or they knew/should have known and did nothing to stop it. Following is a list of potential defendants in a child sex abuse civil suit.

  • The abuser
  • Employers
  • Apartment communities
  • Property owners
  • Daycare providers
  • Landlords
  • Hotels/motels
  • Co-workers
  • Schools
  • Coaches
  • Babysitters
  • Parents/stepparents
  • Teachers
  • Therapists
  • Youth clubs
  • Churches
  • Doctors
PROSECUTING CHILD MOLESTERS IN CIVIL COURT

As is the case with many crimes, those responsible for child sex abuse can be tried in both criminal and civil court. In criminal court, they may be sentenced to jail time, prison time, or probation. In civil court, they can be sued for damages caused by their actions. Damages for sexual abuse cases may include:

  • Personal injury
  • Lost income and other financial losses
  • Past and future trauma and emotional distress
  • Past and future medical, counseling, and psychiatric bills
  • False imprisonment; assault, battery
  • Exploitation
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages
WHY SHOULD YOU COME FORWARD TODAY?

When it comes to reporting and prosecuting child sex abusers- time is of the essence. First of all- the more quickly you report abuse, the quicker it stops. Secondly- depending on what state you live in, there are deadlines for filing a lawsuit in an abuse case (statute of limitations). The following are some key reasons to come forward today:

  • You can stop the abuse now.
  • You can achieve closure (an opportunity for recovery and healing).
  • You have a responsibility to make the public/community aware of the perpetrator and keep this abuse from happening to someone else.
  • It is a way to hold perpetrators, and those who could have prevented the crime(s) accountable for their actions.
  • You can secure compensation for damages, money spent on therapy, etc.

HAVE YOU BEEN INJURED?

If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact us