Los Angeles Sexual Assault Attorneys Protecting Adult Victims of Childhood Abuse
Upholding the rights of sexual abuse victims throughout California
Children who are suffering from sexual abuse cope the best they can, which often involves attempting to ignore their feelings and staying silent. But the pain and shame do not go away when the abuse stops. It surfaces in other ways, from depression and eating disorders to substance abuse and risky behaviors. At the Los Angeles sexual abuse law firm of Taylor & Ring, we support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse in taking the steps toward justice and healing. Contact us today for a free consultation at 310-776-6390.
You have legal options available to you
We represent adult victims of childhood sexual abuse in civil lawsuits throughout Southern California and statewide. Our role is to hold the perpetrator accountable, as well as the other adults who could have prevented or stopped the abuse, but failed to do so, including the organization itself. We represent adults who were abused by priests or religious workers, Scout leaders, teachers or classroom aides, day care workers, coaches, police officers, and other adults in positions of trust or authority.
Statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases
Sometimes, it takes years for victims to recognize the link between the sexual abuse they suffered as a child and their current problems and challenges, from difficulty maintaining relationships to an inability to finish school or hold a job. Alternately, children may suppress memories of abuse for many years, with the realization of what occurred dawning on them at a much later age.
Current California state legislation requires survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file notice of a civil lawsuit within 8 years of your 18th birthday, which means you must file your claim before your 26th birthday. For example, CA Civ Code § 52.4 (2017) states that a victim of sexual abuse may bring an action “within three years after the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered the psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority that was caused by the act, whichever date occurs later.” If this is the case, then your time frame may be different, depending on a variety of factors. It is a complex part of the law.
Long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse on adult survivors
The effects of childhood sexual abuse often last well into adulthood. Many survivors struggle for years, unaware of the link between the abuse they struggled with and their current challenges, such as fractured relationships, substance abuse, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, self-destructive behavior, inability to finish school or hold a job, and more. According to an Atlantic article, victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and four times more likely to contemplate suicide.
Our attorneys are familiar with the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse. In seeking monetary compensation, we look at how the abuse has impacted all areas of the victim’s life and relationships. The harm is usually dramatic and substantial. That is why many of these lawsuits ultimately settle for millions of dollars. That amount reflects the tremendous amount of harm that was inflicted.
Talking about the abuse with a counselor, mental health professional or supportive person in your life can be of great help. Counseling can help give you an important perspective that may allow you to break free from the internalized messages that result from childhood sexual abuse. You may begin to see how the abuse has colored your self-esteem, your relationships, and indeed every facet of your life.
Five things victims of child sex abuse in California should know
Child sex abuse is a terrifying and tragic reality for thousands of children. Our Los Angeles child sex abuse attorneys have successfully represented many victims of sexual abuse, and we understand how challenging it is for families to pick up the pieces after such a harrowing breach of trust occurs. It can often be embarrassing or uncomfortable for a child to disclose sexual abuse and therefore only approximately 30 percent of cases are reported to authorities, according to a report.
If your child has been abused, here are five things you should know:
- YOU NEED LEGAL COUNSEL. Don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer who focuses on helping young victims of sexual abuse. Sex abuse cases are particularly sensitive and usually involve a statute of limitations(deadlines). While financial restitution may never heal the pain caused by such abuse, it does help many achieve a sense of closure, and ensures that dangerous criminals are held accountable for their actions.
- IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. Many victims of sexual abuse blame themselves for somehow “inviting” or “allowing” the abuse. Similarly, parents of child sex abuse victims may feel partly responsible for not noticing the signs of abuse sooner, or for being taken in by an adult whom they thought they could trust. Remember that no one asks to be abused, and that abusers are skilled manipulators who lie, deceive, and carefully groom their victims. Focusing your attention on the truly culpable parties will help you direct your energy in more productive ways, and will allow you to help your child more effectively during this extremely difficult time.
- YOU ARE NOT POWERLESS. One of the most damaging aspects of sexual abuse, particularly when it concerns children, is the feeling of helplessness and powerlessness it creates. At the law firm of Taylor & Ring, we know that victims are not powerless – and that their strength can help put perpetrators behind bars and protect other potential victims from harm.
- YOU CAN HEAL. The effects of sex abuse on children are long lasting and require professional counseling, but rest assured that with proper care healing is within reach. Above all else, do not lose hope.
- RESPONSIBILITY MAY NOT BE LIMITED TO THE PERPETRATOR ALONE. If your child was abused by an individual, such as a teacher, coach, religious figure, or day care worker who knew your child due to his or her job, or was at work when the abuse occurred, you may be able to hold his or her employer responsible as well. Employers often fail to conduct thorough background checks, neglect to investigate complaints or even actively attempt to cover up child sex abuse. Such employers must also be held accountable for their role in the abuse.
Holding perpetrators accountable for their acts of sexual abuse
All too often, perpetrators who sexually abuse children are “let off the hook,” slipping through the cracks or getting swept under the rug by a society that is hesitant to look this very real problem squarely in the face. The sexual abuse law firm of Taylor & Ring is dedicated to holding perpetrators of abuse responsible for their heinous crimes, to help their victims find closure, and to protect other children who could become victims in the future.
Abusers in the workplace
If you are an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, you understand that your abuser’s employer had an important duty to protect you and other children like you from harm – a duty that it failed to fulfill.
Perpetrators of child sex abuse often choose careers or jobs that allow them to work with or near children, in order to select victims and “groom” them for abuse. For this reason, employers have an obligation to conduct thorough background checks on all potential hires. Individuals with a history of child sex abuse should never be hired for work that requires them to interact with children, such as teaching, coaching, or providing child care services.
If you believe your abuser’s employer failed to demonstrate proper due diligence in the hiring process, the child sex abuse lawyers at Taylor & Ring can help hold it responsible for its role in the abuse you suffered as a child.
Failure to follow up on complaints and mandated reporter status
In addition to overlooking an employee’s history of abusing children, employers may also fail to thoroughly investigate complaints that could have helped prevent the abuse in question.
Perpetrators usually exhibit certain red flags or warning signs prior to actually committing acts of abuse, and these signs may be noticed – and even reported – by observant parents, children, or even casual onlookers. You may have even told a trusted adult yourself about the abuse you were suffering at the time, only to have your desperate plea for help ignored or rejected.
Employers who receive such complaints then have a duty to follow up on these complaints, and remove the employee in question if his or her behavior warrants such treatment, yet it is an unfortunate fact that many employers simply ignore or even take pains to actively cover up such complaints. Those employers must be held accountable for their negligent actions and their role in the abuse you suffered at a young age.
California has a lengthy list of mandated reporters: individuals who are required, by law, to report child abuse or neglect, or any suspected child abuse or neglect, including: “physical abuse, sexual abuse (including both sexual assault and sexual exploitation), willful cruelty or unjustified punishment, unlawful corporal punishment or injury, and neglect (including both acts and omissions).” You can access the full list here, but it includes educators, doctors, clergymen and -women, child care providers, law enforcement, and mental health professionals. A mandated reporter has a legal obligation to report his or her suspicions, and must be free to do so regardless of what superiors say. Say, for example, a teacher wished to report suspected child abuse, but that teacher was stopped from doing so by his or her principal. The principal has violated the law by disallowing the teacher to report the abuse. Likewise, if a teacher suspects abuse but says nothing, he or she may be in violation of the law because of his or her role as a mandated reporter. Failing to report is a misdemeanor, and can land a person in jail for up to 6 months, and/or with a fine of up to $1000.
Additional claims we handle
- Sexual abuse in schools
- Sexual abuse in youth organizations
- Sexual abuse in religious organizations
- Rape and Sexual Assault
- Sexual Harassment and Employment
- Sexual Abuse / Sexual Assault
- Child Sexual Abuse / Child Sexual Assault
The Importance of Choosing the Right Legal Counsel for Your Needs
Seeking guidance from a lawyer experienced in handling the nuances of child sex abuse cases is imperative. At Taylor & Ring, we can help you navigate the intricacies of filing a civil lawsuit against your abuser and the institutions that shielded him or her. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to obtain closure and justice for yourself and others like you. Contact the Los Angeles sex abuse attorneys at Taylor & Ring today at 310-776-6390 and we will make sure you don’t miss important deadlines on your road to recovery.