Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
The thought of your child being sexually abused is a nightmare. Unfortunately, some adults use their position of power and trust to sexually abuse the children they are supposed to care for, mentor, or guide. If you are a parent and your child has been abused, your initial reaction could be shock, horror, or disbelief. You need to be supportive and listen to your child. Additionally, there are several steps you should take.
The first thing you need to do is protect your child and find them a safe place. Any contact with the alleged abuser should immediately cease. Next, you should report the suspected abuse to local law enforcement. If your child needs medical attention, ensure they receive the care they need. Also, contact an experienced sexual abuse attorney.
The Law Office of Andrew Shubin is dedicated to providing compassionate and aggressive representation for victims of sexual abuse. Our staff and attorneys understand the traumatic experience that the victim and their families undergo. Our goal is to professionally handle your case and get you the help that you need. Call (814) 826-3586 to schedule a free and confidential appointment.
If You Believe Your Child Has Been Abused, Report it and Call an Experienced Lawyer
If you believe your child is the victim of abuse, you should immediately remove your child from the suspected abuser, whether this is a coach, priest, another adult, or family member. Having your child medically examined by their doctor or at a hospital could potentially begin building evidence to substantiate your suspicion. However, remember that doctors, nurses, psychologists, and social workers are legally required to report suspected abuse.
If the alleged abuser is an employee of a school or organization, you should report your suspicions to the administrators. Additionally, you have the right to report the suspected abuse to law enforcement or your local child protective services agency. If you are looking for assistance, the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline provides local referrals and guidance. Contact them at (800) 422-4453.
You should also call an experienced sexual abuse attorney. In addition to pursuing criminal charges against the predator, you are entitled to seek financial compensation through a civil lawsuit. In some cases, the organization or institution that allowed the abuse to occur could also be held accountable for the harm your child endured.
Criminal Cases vs. Civil Lawsuits for Child Abuse
Criminal cases are conducted by a prosecutor and are intended to punish or sentence the alleged abuser. The role of the victim is minimal. Additionally, the burden of proof required to convict in a criminal proceeding is more significant than a personal injury claim.
In a civil lawsuit, the victim and their family bring the claim against the predator. Instead of being represented by the state or district attorney, the family is represented by their personal injury attorney. Unlike a criminal case, a civil lawsuit is focused on the victim and their needs instead of punishing the alleged defendant. The goal is to seek financial compensation for the injuries and damages the child suffered.
How Civil Lawsuits Help Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
The significant advantage of a civil lawsuit for the victim is the ability to seek total financial compensation for their injuries and damages. Whereas, in a criminal case, a judge will award restitution. An experienced sexual abuse attorney will be able to argue for the total compensation a victim deserves, including money for their medical expenses, counseling costs, relocation, alternative education options, and therapy. Survivors and their families could also recover for their emotional distress, anxiety, mental anguish, and other pain and suffering through a civil claim.
In addition to the abuser, a victim could seek compensation from the institute or organization that allowed the abuse to continue. Being able to sue an entity such as the Boy Scouts of America, the Catholic Church, or a school increases the chances that a victim will receive the amount of compensation they deserve.
The burden of proof in a civil lawsuit is significantly less than is necessary in a criminal case. In civil matters, the plaintiff only needs to show that the defendant was guilty by a preponderance of the evidence. This standard means that the abuser must be “more likely than not” guilty of the conduct that has been alleged. While this threshold of proof is easier to establish, a victim of abuse still needs a skilled sexual abuse attorney advocating for their rights. It is important to remember that you do not need a criminal conviction or case to prevail in civil court.
Holding Other Parties Liable in a Sexual Abuse Civil Lawsuit
As stated previously, it might be possible to hold more than the alleged abuser liable for your child’s injuries. If the abuse occurred at a school, daycare, church, youth athletic facility, or place of busies, the organization could be held responsible.
For instance, a school district could be held liable if it failed to thoroughly screen its employees or negligently supervised them. If an organization had ignored or hidden previous allegations of abuse, it could be held accountable.
An experienced insititional sexual abuse attorney will carefully review all the facts in a matter to determine if another party shares culpability. In many cases, a significantly higher judgment could be awarded if an institution is found to have acted with negligence or malice.
Contact Our Sexual Abuse Attorney if Your Child Was a Victim of Abuse
Sexual abuse of a child is horrific. If it is your child, you might not know where to turn. In addition to local law enforcement, there are child advocacy groups to contact. The Law Office of Andrew Shubin is also there for you and your family. Our office provides sympathetic and professional legal representation as well as access to valuable resources. To schedule a free consultation, call (814) 826-3586.