Los Angeles Child Sexual Assault Attorneys
Proven representation for child sexual abuse victims in California
Child sexual abuse is one of the most incomprehensible crimes imaginable. Unfortunately, this tragedy happens much too frequently. At Taylor & Ring, we protect the interests of innocent children, and fight for a better, safer future. If your child was sexually victimized by a perpetrator, contact a compassionate Los Angeles child sexual abuse and assault lawyer to seek the justice your family deserves.
Child sex abuse in California
In 2015, there were more than 42,000 reports of child sexual abuse in the state of California alone.
According to the non-profit organization Darkness to Light:
- 90% of all child victims of sexual abuse know their abuser.
- 1 in 7 cases of sexual abuse happens on a school day.
- 1 in 5 cases of child sexual assault involve a victim under the age of 8.
- 38% of children will disclose that they were sexually abused.
- 44% of all rape victims are minor children.
There is some justice when sexual predators are convicted and sent to prison, but it doesn’t erase the pain and traumas suffered by the victim and his or her family. It also does not explain how such an unspeakable tragedy could occur.
Effects of child sex abuse on victims
The effects of childhood sexual abuse have been well-documented. Aside from the physical harm – there is much evidence that the psychological and emotional trauma can last for years, and potentially a lifetime.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, children who have been sexually abused may:
- Revert to regressive behaviors (bed-wetting, thumb-sucking, requiring a night-light, etc.)
- Develop performance or behavior-based problems at school
- Develop anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, or other mental health conditions
- Be more likely to be re-victimized by another abuser at a later date
- Have difficulty developing and maintaining healthy relationships (sexual or otherwise) as adults
Sexual abuse is about power and control
Sexual assault, no matter how old the victim is, is almost always about power. The World Health Organization analyzes sexual violence like this:
Sexual violence is an aggressive act. The underlying factors in many sexually violent acts are power and control, not, as is widely perceived, a craving for sex. Rarely is it a crime of passion. It is rather a violent, aggressive, and hostile act used as a means to degrade, dominate, humiliate, terrorize, and control [victims]. The hostility, aggression and/or sadism displayed by the perpetrator are intended to threaten the victim’s sense of self. Sexual violence violates a victim’s sense of privacy, safety, and well-being.
Work with sexual offenders has confirmed that the motivating factor for sexual violence is not sexual desire. Although sexuality and aggression are involved in all forms of sexual violence, sex is merely the medium used to express various types of non-sexual feelings such as anger and hostility towards [victims], as well as a need to control, dominate, and assert power over them.
Filing a civil lawsuit against your child’s abuser
A civil lawsuit addresses both the impact on the victim and the culpability of the perpetrator. It also addresses those who could have prevented or stopped the abuse, which may include the perpetrator’s employer. Many parents of child victims do not realize that criminal prosecution is independent from any civil proceedings. In a criminal suit, the district attorney is chiefly concerned with prosecuting the sexual offender, and does little to protect the victim’s civil claims. In a civil suit, the court considers the victim’s pain and suffering to determine an appropriate level of compensation.
If your child has been abused by a trusted adult, it’s important to seek legal counsel from child sexual abuse lawyers as soon as possible. An experienced Los Angeles child sexual abuse law firm takes all necessary steps to ensure the civil lawsuit is filed in a timely manner, thus preserving the victim’s civil claims for money damages against those who caused the harm. The lawyer also acts to preserve important evidence and locate critical witnesses.
Holding perpetrators responsible for their horrific actions
Parents of child sexual abuse victims often experience guilt for missing warning signs. At Taylor & Ring, we know that adults who prey on children often gain the trust of parents in order to groom their victims. We also understand that children who are abused commonly suffer long-term effects throughout their youth and into adulthood. A successful civil claim ultimately helps victims obtain justice and achieve the closure they deserve.
According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice, less than a third of sexual assault cases are communicated to authorities of any kind. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s research “estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.” Most research agrees that the majority of assault cases are committed by people the child knew.
Our attorneys handle cases of child molestation, sexual assault and sexual abuse committed by:
- Day care workers
- Scout leaders
- Religious leaders
- Police officers
- Health care providers
- Foster parents
- Neighbors or relatives
- Other youth workers
How “grooming” applies to child sexual assault
Perpetrators of child sexual abuse often choose careers or jobs that allow them to work with or near children, such as schools and youth organizations, 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.
Identifying grooming behaviors
Grooming is a system of behaviors designed to gain the trust of children and of their caretakers, including parents, relatives, teachers, coaches, etc. The National Center for Victims of crime identifies 7 steps of grooming:
- Identifying and targeting the victim
- Gaining trust and access
- Playing a role in the child’s life
- Isolating the child
- Creating secrecy around the relationship
- Initiating sexual contact
- Controlling the relationship
An experienced Los Angeles child sexual abuse lawyer knows that age, gender, occupation, income, marital status, and standing in the community are not reliable predictors of whether or not an individual is a sexual predator. We encourage parents to learn the warning signs of sexual abuse and practice open communication with their children.
Other potential liable parties
There are many reasons to pursue legal action against the employer of a perpetrator of sexual abuse against children, not the least of which is to protect children from exploitation at the hands of predators who would seek to use these companies and organizations as sanctuary. Employers, supervisors, co-workers, and other adults may also hold some responsibility for these horrific acts. These individuals may have failed to conduct sufficient background checks, investigate complaints, or report suspicious behavior to law enforcement.
If you believe a perpetrator’s employer failed to demonstrate proper due diligence in the hiring process, the child sex abuse lawyers at Taylor & Ring can help hold them responsible for their role in your child’s abuse. We have routinely represented clients in claims against school districts, religious orders, and government entities, along with privately-owned businesses.
Failure to follow up on complaints
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. 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.
Failure of mandated reporters
Under the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA), certain individuals are required by law to report any instances of child abuse or neglect that they know of, or that they reasonably suspect, to law enforcement. These people are called mandated reporters, because it is mandatory that they report their knowledge or suspicions “as soon as is practically possible.” Failure to do so can lead to incarceration and fines.
The problem is that many mandated reporters do not report their findings or suspicions to law enforcement; instead, they pass the report up the chain of command, such as telling a supervisor, a school principal, another doctor, etc. Despite the fact that mandated reporters are granted absolutely immunity in the event of a mistake, many would rather “somebody else” deal with the problem. If a mandated reporter fails to contact law enforcement, he or she may also be held liable for damages.
- Local Resources for Child Sexual Abuse Victims
- Date Rape Is Increasingly Abetted by Drugs
- Los Angeles Attorneys Explain Key Issues in Date Rape Cases
- Does California have a statute of limitations for rape?
- Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick Removed from Ministry Amid Sexual Abuse Allegations
- What Does Sexual Abuse in California’s Schools Look Like?
- California’s AB 218 Will Help Protect Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse
- Read Natalie Weatherford and Sonya Ostavar’s interview with Lawyer Monthly about the impact of AB 218.
Trust an experienced Los Angeles sexual abuse lawyer with your child’s case
Child sexual abuse and sexual assault cases are challenging to pursue. Trust the attorneys of Taylor & Ring to provide you and your child with reliable and honest representation. Call us today at 310.209.4100 or complete our contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
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