Usually, victims of child sexual assault suffer their abuse from those adults who hold some position of authority or trust over them. If you discover that your child suffered any kind of sexual abuse, you likely feel shocked, devastated, furious, and overwhelmed.
Consider hiring legal representation with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. Call us at (800) 219-9622 to learn how a California child sexual assault lawyer can help represent you and your child and hold the abuser responsible for their actions.
Child Sexual Assault Statistics
The statistics seem too horrifying to be true, but thousands of children suffer sexual assault every year in the United States. Oftentimes, the sexual assault or abuse stems from a trusted person that the family knows, either a friend, relative, babysitter, teachers, medical professionals, camp counselors, or even those trusted members of their religious faith community. The Administration of Children and Families (ACF) research shows that over 3.5 million children suffer from abuse every year, and of that number, 10.7% are physically abused, and 7% are sexually abused.
Criminal vs. Civil Charges
Anytime a person commits a sexual act upon a child under the age of 14 or seven years younger than them, the abuser violates California Penal Code §269. While the family definitely has the legal right to pursue criminal charges against the abuser of their child, they also have the legal right to pursue civil charges as well.
Through civil action, a victim may receive compensation for losses (such as mental health therapy for mental anguish or psychological damage, medical bills to treat the physical abuse, or the pain and suffering of both the child and the family).
It is important to note that while financial compensation will never make up for the abuse or sexual assault that occurred, this monetary award can allow a family to receive the treatments needed in order to become both physically and emotionally healthy again following this tragedy.
California Statute of Limitations
Every civil lawsuit has a deadline to file a claim known as the statute of limitations. The California Civil Procedure Code §340.16 addresses the length of time a victim has to file a claim for child sexual assault. Because some child victims of sexual assault remain fearful of coming forward against their abuser, there are extension of time provided for these types of cases.
Specifically, this California law went into effect recently in January 2020 and indicates that any childhood victim of sexual assault has until their 40th birthday, or within five years of the discovery of the sexual abuse or assault to file a lawsuit. Additionally, this law allows for a three-year window for the revival of any civil claims that would have previously remained statute-barred.
Making the Decision To File a Child Sexual Assault Lawsuit
Making the decision to file a child sexual assault lawsuit is a very personal matter and one that contains several emotional, psychological, and practical issues. Making this decision may mean that you and your child will have to go through the civil court process, although most courts attempt to make this process as painless and easy on the child as possible.
In some cases, California child sexual assault lawyers can work on a “contingency fee” basis, meaning that they will not require payment upfront and will only receive a payment if they win your child sexual assault claim on behalf of your child.
The decision to file a lawsuit is a deeply personal one; however, it is clear that some abusers of children do not only assault one child but rather exhibit a pattern of behavior that includes multiple victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse over several years if not caught and brought to justice. Seeking justice for your child’s abuse may help to prevent other children from experiencing the same abuse.
Seek Immediate Assistance
If your child suffered any kind of sexual assault, your first step should include contacting the police. Depending on the facts and circumstance of the case, you should also consider seeking out immediate medical attention if necessary, to ensure the health and safety of the child. There are also support groups and networks that you can find to help you begin the healing process and help you determine your next steps regarding the mental and psychological well-being of your child.
Even though some victims feel too ashamed to seek justice, they may benefit from potential compensation that could cover future medical costs associated with their abuse, such as ongoing therapy and psychiatric medication. A civil suit may allow the family to recuperate these losses and move forward in the future.
Nothing is more important than the immediate safety of a child who suffered abuse. After they are out of harm’s way, the work toward recovery begins, and a settlement may help a family afford the care and treatment the victims needs for years after.
Consider a California Child Sexual Assault Lawyer
You are in an emotionally devastating and psychologically painful time if you recently discovered that your child suffered sexual assault or sexual abuse.
Consider speaking with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm by dialing (800) 219-9622 to learn how our attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and help you receive justice for your child. We work on a contingency fee basis so that we can advocate for victims of these heinous crimes.