Crime Victim & Sexual Abuse Lawyers PA
According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), there are more than 300,000 victims of sexual assault every year. Unfortunately, many sexual assault survivors do not know their rights, especially if they were assaulted by a person in a position of power. If you or a loved one were the victim of a sexual abuse or assault, contact our team of lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell today to take the first steps toward justice.
What is Sexual Abuse?
It is generally understood that sexual abuse involves unwanted sexual contact. It not only covers fondling and touching of a sexual nature, but:
- Oral sex
- Requesting the minor send or take pictures of themselves in an inappropriate manner
- Revealing oneself to a child
- Showing children explicit images, exposing children to sexually charged language and to pornography
- Taking inappropriate photos of a child for personal use or distribution
Cases of abuse typically involve an inappropriate use of power, and a number of factors can contribute:
- Age – Acts that involve an adult and a minor are despicable acts; children are victimized simply because they are too young to protect themselves from the assault. Research has found that those who suffer sex abuse as a child are more likely to develop depression, anxiety, addictions and personality disorders.
- Authority – Individuals holding a position of inherent authority sexually abuse others by taking advantage of the authoritative dynamic. An example of this would be a teacher becoming sexually involved with a student. The student may feel obligated to take part in the abuse simply because the teacher holds a role of power.
- Coercion – Children and mentally handicapped individuals can be especially vulnerable to sexual assault. Perpetrators often concoct stories to explain their behavior and discourage reporting.
- Physical size – A larger physical presence can be exerted as a form of influence. Smaller individuals may shy away from stopping sexual abuse out of fear of a physical confrontation.
Effects of Sexual Abuse
The damage from sexual abuse is rarely only physical, oftentimes, the mental and emotional impact of sexual abuse goes on for years to a lifetime. Signs that a child has been sexually abused may include:
- Abrupt changes in behavior, sometimes affecting quality of schoolwork.
- Depression and low self-esteem.
- Sexually acting out for their age (Promiscuous behavior).
When a child show symptoms of sexual abuse, professionals have a duty to report those behaviors and protect the child. Health professionals, police, school employees (i.e. teachers) and others have an obligation to assure the mental and physical safety of the children they watch over.
With representation from an experienced crime victim’s attorney, you can fight back. At McEldrew Young Purtell, we help sexual abuse survivors get justice and hold offenders accountable for their actions. We will explain your rights and help you stand up to them. When there are liable parties, we can file a civil suit against them for compensation to cover your past, present and future losses.
There are statutes of limitations for filing civil suits in child and adult sexual assault cases. We recommend speaking with an attorney as soon as possible to learn about the deadlines for filing your case.