Sexual abuse is a widespread problem that affects children, adults, and people of all different societal levels. It can occur in any environment, including at home, the workplace, or any other public setting. Often, victims of sexual abuse are left to face the devastating consequences of an attack on their own.
The California sexual abuse lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm are committed to representing victims of these heinous crimes and doing everything we can to ensure justice is served. We understand how traumatic these experiences are and are here to help you understand your rights, either as a victim yourself or as the parent of a child who has experienced sexual abuse.
What Constitutes Sexual Abuse?
According to the American Psychological Association, sexual abuse is defined as any “unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats, or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.” One of the most shocking facts about sexual abuse is that most victims know their abuser. Unfortunately, children are often the victims of these inappropriate actions, leading to a lifetime of struggles stemming from the abuse.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse at any point, please contact the Los Angeles sexual abuse lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm. There are also numerous resources aimed at supporting sexual abuse victims here in California and throughout the United States, including:
- Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)
- Sexual abuse and assault hotline: 1-800-656-4673 (available 24 hours every day)
- The National Children’s Advocacy Center
- Additional resources for parents of children who have been sexually abused
- Race Against Abuse of Children Everywhere
Defining Child Molestation
According to the Department of Justice, child molestation is defined as: “contacts or interactions such as inappropriate physical contact between a child and adult where the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator.”
These allegations are taken extremely seriously and require special care and attention. The goal of taking legal action against the person responsible for sexual misconduct, abuse, or molestation of a child is to protect the child and seek damages to support their recovery.
Along with this, child sexual abuse is any form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. This does not always involve physical contact. Examples of child sexual abuse are:
- Exposing oneself to a minor
- Sexual intercourse
- Masturbation in front of a minor
- Forcing a minor to masturbate
- Inappropriate phone calls, text messages, or any other digital interaction
- Any action involving pornographic content of children
- Sex with a minor
- Sex trafficking
How Can a California Child Molestation Attorney Help?
A California childhood sexual abuse lawyer can help you understand your rights and take action against the perpetrator. These cases are sensitive and go unreported because the victims are often very young. Sadly, the majority of child molestation perpetrators are someone close to the child or family. According to RAINN, up to 93 percent of all victims under 18 know their abuser. To learn more about child sexual abuse cases in California, please contact Wilshire Law Firm today and schedule an appointment.
Criminal vs. Civil Sex Abuse Cases
While predators are usually prosecuted under criminal statutes, civil action for damages is an alternative or additional recourse that a victim can pursue. If the perpetrator has gained access to the victim while acting in an official capacity for an employer, such as a school, church, or sports league, it is possible that the employer can be negligent and held liable for damages for failing to protect the public adequately.
The team at Wilshire Law Firm is working to hold these perpetrators and the organizations they represent, accountable for their actions. Representing our Los Angeles sexual abuse victim clients, we seek out justice and financial compensation.
Who Is Liable for Child Molestation?
As we discussed in the previous section, there are several different options when it comes to pursuing a lawsuit against a sexual abuse perpetrator. There are also numerous factors to consider regarding liability. In addition to the obvious child molester, institutions may also be held liable for sexual abuse. The following are examples of institutions that can be taken to court for child molestation:
- Youth organizations
- Other businesses
These institutions must safeguard and protect children. When they breach this duty of care or are negligent, resulting in the abuse of a minor, they may be held liable for misconduct.
What to Do If You Are a Victim of Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse can have a devastating impact on a victim’s health and quality of life, causing long-term negative social and psychological effects. Knowing this, Wilshire Law Firm is committed to helping our clients heal. We provide our clients with access to our network of world-class doctors, therapists, psychologists, and other healthcare providers – all who will treat patients with no upfront or out-of-pocket costs until after the case settles.
While our clients focus on the healing process, we go to work in the courtroom. Aggressive litigators who achieve top results, our team will work tirelessly to see our clients generously compensated and justice served.
Do Not Remain Silent
By giving voice to the injustice that you experienced through your partnership with Wilshire Law Firm, we can see justice prevail and future victims protected.
The sexual abuse attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm understand the sensitive nature of sexual abuse cases and are committed to handling your case in a sensitive, discreet, and professional manner. They will work to secure the most favorable compensation for every client victim. Aggressive, ethical, and honest representation is the reputation that we have earned and the standard we strive to uphold.
Other steps to take include:
- Prioritize the safety and well-being of your child through coping mechanisms.
- Reach out for support.
- Consider seeking medical attention by going to your local hospital or rape center.
- Help process your child’s experience in a manner that works for them, such as through therapy, journaling, getting out in nature, or meditating.
- Consider filing a lawsuit.
Where Is Child Sexual Abuse Most Likely to Occur?
RAINN states that an instance of child sexual abuse takes place every nine minutes in the United States. 66 percent of victims are between the ages of 12 and 17, and 34 percent are under age 12. Child abuse can occur anywhere, but it happens most often in the residence of the perpetrator or victim or in a school or daycare setting.
What is a Statute of Limitation for Sexual Abuse Claims in California?
All states have a statute of limitations (the time limit to file suit) for taking legal action following sexual abuse. There are various factors that will come into play, which is why it’s crucial to discuss your case with a knowledgeable sexual assault lawyer in Los Angeles. In California, the time limit to file a lawsuit for sexual abuse will depend on whether the victim is a child or an adult over the age of 18. If the victim is over 18, you must take action within the following time frame:
- 10 years from the date of the attempted sexual act or assault by the defendant, or;
- Within three years from the date the victim discovered an injury or illness related to the sexual assault
These statutes of limitations went into effect on January 1, 2019. Under this updated code of civil procedure, the following statute of limitations for child sexual abuse or assault victims took effect January 1, 2020:
- Childhood victims of sexual abuse have until their 40th birthday to file suit, or;
- Within five years of when the abuse was discovered
- There is a three-year window for the revival of any sexual abuse claims barred by the previous statute of limitations in California
Contact Los Angeles Sexual Abuse Lawyers
To learn more about filing a sexual abuse claim in Los Angeles, please contact personal injury lawyers. We represent child victims of sexual abuse, as well as adults who have experienced abuse in the workplace or those who have been wrongfully terminated because of sexual abuse or another similar action.
Sexual Abuse Frequently Asked Questions
The following are frequently asked questions our Los Angeles sexual abuse lawyers field about these types of cases:
What should I do if I’ve been sexually abused or I know someone who’s been abused?
Seek help and make your voice heard. We understand how intimidating it can be to talk about what happened to you, but your perpetrator must be held responsible. There are numerous resources out there for child victims of sexual abuse, as well as adults. Furthermore, our sexual abuse litigation law firm can help you understand your rights and where to go from here.
What is consent?
RAINN defines consent as “an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity.” Consent can be given in several different ways, including physical and verbal cues.
What if I didn’t fight back or it wasn’t reported right away?
Please read through the California statute of limitations section above. California passed new regulations pertaining to sexual abuse and assault cases that went into effect on January 1, 2019, and January 1, 2020, that govern when a lawsuit must be filed.
Can businesses be held responsible for sexual assault?
Yes. As discussed earlier, schools, daycares, youth organizations, and other businesses can be held liable for sexual harassment or assault, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. To learn more, contact Wilshire Law Firm.
What do I do if I am sexually harassed at my job?
If you experienced sexual abuse or harassment at work, you have options. Our Los Angeles workplace retaliation lawyers can help you understand your rights and next steps.