Sexual abuse, in any form, is a traumatic experience. The emotional and psychological damage can be irreversible, leaving victims to deal with a painful experience that can last a lifetime. No one is immune to becoming a victim of sexual abuse, and gender and age do not matter. Staying educated about sexual abuse is one way you may be able to prevent it. However, for victims who have already suffered from the devastating experience of sexual abuse be able to get compensated for their pain and suffering under personal injury law. Here’s what you need to know:
What is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse happens when one person forces sexual behavior on another. A sexual abuser may use physical violence, threaten or intimidate their victim into the abuse. Sexual abuse can happen anywhere and an abuser can be anyone — even someone you may know and trust.
Why Are Foster Care Children More at Risk?
While sexual abuse can happen to anyone, statistics show that minor children and women are the most at risk. But when it comes to children in foster care, they are one of the most vulnerable victims of sexual abuse. Here’s why:
Why Does Sexual Abuse Happen in Foster Homes?
Despite popular belief, it’s not always a foster parent that is the sexual abuser. Sexual abuse in foster homes can come from other relatives, children of foster parents, neighbors, or friends. Even with foster parents going through a screening process, unfortunately, the following reasons can cause sexual abuse to go undetected:
- Low budgets for services
- Agency understaffing
- Lack of training for state workers and advocates
- Inadequate screening of foster parents
Unfortunately, sexual predators are clever at seeking ways to find their victims. When a child has no other family or adult they can trust, it makes them more vulnerable to sexual abuse.
Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse in Foster Homes
Sexual abuse may be hard to identify, especially if there are no visible physical signs, such as cuts, bruises, or broken bones. However, some significant changes in a child’s behavior could indicate that sexual abuse is happening. The following may be some warning signs:
- The child is complaining of pain in genital areas
- Unexplained blood on clothes
- Poor school grades
- Poor school attendance
How You can Report Foster Home Sexual Abuse
Children who are victims of sexual abuse, whether they are in foster care or not, may carry psychological damage throughout their lifetime. Often the emotional consequences are more than one may be able to comprehend.
If you suspect that a child has been a victim of sexual abuse or you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse as a child, it’s of the utmost importance to contact the authorities immediately. Informing the authorities of the sexual abuse will not only stop the abuse from happening to you, but it can also prevent the abuser from seeking out new victims.
Sexual Abuse By The Clergy
For decades, sexual abuse by the clergy has been a taboo subject for anyone to talk about. Although, in recent years, victims have been finding their voice and speaking out against clergy members who have exploited their trust. Here are some ways that victims of sexual abuse by the clergy can stay protected.
Who Can You Trust in Reporting Sexual Abuse by the Clergy?
Unfortunately, many victims who report abuse to church overseers may find that their account of the abuse may fall upon deaf ears. One of the first and most essential steps in getting sexual abuse to stop is to report the incident to the authorities. Reporting sexual abuse will remove the abuser from his or her position in which they can look for other victims.
How Can Survivors of Sexual Abuse Protect Themselves?
Knowing your rights as a survivor of sexual abuse can keep you protected from further abuse. You also have the right to hold your perpetrator responsible for the heinous acts that they have committed against you. It’s your legal right to pursue a civil suit against the organization who may have turned a blind eye to your abuse. Parents of minor children who have endured sexual abuse may also file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of their child. In the state of Californian, there is no criminal statute of limitation for sexual assault of a minor. However, there is a civil statute up to 26 years old.
Why Sexual Abuse Survivors Should Speak Up
It’s not uncommon for victims of sexual abuse to become withdrawn and often blame themselves for the abuse. They often feel ashamed, alone, and unsure if anyone will believe that sexual abuse happened to them. It takes a lot of courage for victims of sexual abuse to speak out against their perpetrator. Not only will speaking out stop the sexual abuse from happening to you again, but it will also stop it from happening to other victims as well.
How an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Sexual abuse is one of the most harrowing experiences an individual can be forced to endure. The emotional, physical, and psychological damage can be challenging for someone to overcome. When trust has been broken by an unconscionable act such as sexual abuse, many victims are left confused, vulnerable, and unsure where to turn for help.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual abuse, you have the right to pursue legal action for your pain and suffering. Contact Levin & Nalbandyan, LLP today at (213) 267-3640 to learn more about how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.