If your child discloses that he or she was sexually abused by a school official, it can be an extremely challenging situation to handle. School officials have a duty to provide your child with the highest level of care. When they breach this duty, it is especially infuriating. The following are steps you should take to protect your child and assert your family’s rights when sexual abuse at school occurs:
- Stay calm. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) suggests that parents try to remain calm. It is understandable that emotions will run high during this challenging time, but an erratic response can make the situation worse. In addition, if your child sees your anger, he or she may become unwilling to discuss the incident any further.
- Believe your child. This is definitely a situation where it is better to be safe than sorry. Believe your child and praise the courage it took to disclose the assault. Take these allegations seriously and pursue further actions.
- Report the incident to law enforcement. Sexual abuse is a criminal matter that deserves proper investigation by the appropriate law enforcement agency. This may include the police or sheriff department within your locality or the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services.
- Report the incident to the school district. You should also file a complaint with your local school district, putting them on notice about the situation and possible risks to other students. It is important to note that school districts do not directly investigate these complaints, according to the California Department of Education (CDE), but it is still useful to notify them of the situation. For a disabled child enrolled in special education, you may also file an additional complaint with CDE under Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.
Possible outcomes of a sexual abuse claim
Once you file an official complaint, law enforcement agents are obligated to conduct a thorough investigation. These efforts may result in two possible outcomes – substantiated or unsubstantiated. With a “substantiated” claim, the investigating agency concludes that the abuse was more likely than not to have occurred. An “unsubstantiated” claim means that the agency’s investigation uncovered no evidence of abuse. A copy of the investigation report is then forwarded to the local school district and the California Department of Justice for further action, according to the CDE.
If your child was sexually abused by a school official, the process of filing a complaint and seeking compensation can prove extremely challenging. Do not try to handle this process without assistance from a skilled Los Angeles sexual abuse lawyer. The attorneys of Taylor & Ring provide Southern California families with compassionate, yet aggressive representation. Call our office today at 310-776-6390 or fill out our online contact form.