Sexual abuse is one of the most heinous crimes we see as a society today, particularly when it affects children. Unfortunately, childhood sexual abuse is commonly perpetrated by trusted adults, often in institutional or recreational settings. An emotional relationship may have be fostered by the abuser, creating conflicting and confusing feelings for the child and sometimes even causing them to feel responsible for their own abuse. These feelings can follow a victim well into adulthood and sometimes for a lifetime.
At David S. Leigh, P.C., we are experienced New York sexual abuse lawyers who believe that all victims of childhood sexual abuse deserve closure and compensation for the consequences of these acts. We offer compassionate representation to these individuals so they can get compensated for the harm done to them and are able to get on with their lives. Call now (212) 843-0907.
Those who perpetrate childhood sexual assault rely heavily on their victims’ vulnerability and trust. It is estimated that approximately 93 percent of perpetrators know their victims, with 59 percent being acquaintances and 34 percent being family members. Only about 7 percent of child sexual abusers are strangers to their victims.
Consequently, many victims are introduced to their abusers through institutions such as schools, churches or other religious organizations, recreation programs, sporting programs, or summer camps. These organizations may also be held liable when they knew of the abuse and failed to take action to protect victims.
Childhood sexual abuse frequently creates devastating lifelong emotional scars for victims into adulthood. Those who were abused as children may find that adult life is fraught with many psychological issues stemming from that abuse. These can include:
And other ongoing physical, emotional, and psychological consequences. Many spend years, if not a lifetime, living with and treating the needless guilt, pain, and conflicting emotions that their childhood sexual trauma created.
At the Law Office of David S. Leigh, P.C., our skilled New York sexual abuse lawyers hold perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse accountable for the harm that they caused and act as a voice for those who have been silent for too long. If you or a loved one has survived childhood sexual trauma, we may be able to help.
According to the non-profit Child USA, only 25 to 33 percent of victims disclose their abuse during childhood. The vast majority of survivors of childhood sexual abuse will typically not disclose their abuse until they are well into adulthood, with the average age of disclosure at 52 years of age. That is a long time to suffer silently
Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse have varied and often complex reasons for delaying disclosure. These can be:
While every survivor of childhood sexual abuse deserves to have their experience acknowledged, it can be a difficult process for many and demands a great deal of support from loved ones, social systems, and our legal system.
One way the legal justice system supports childhood sexual abuse victims is the ability to file a civil lawsuit against the offender or the institution that allowed the abuse.
At the Law Office of David S. Leigh, P.C., our compassionate sexual abuse lawyers are dedicated to survivors of childhood sexual assault. We treat each client with the dignity and understanding they deserve and serve as legal advocates for survivors to help bring justice and closure to a difficult period in their lives.
Although a civil lawsuit cannot undo the harm that has been done, through litigation, victims can seek financial compensation for the physical and psychological damages they were caused. Victims of childhood sexual abuse have often incurred many costs as a result of their abuse, including:
And other economic and non-economic costs. A victim may even be able to seek punitive damages from the abuser or institution.
While those who have been sexually victimized as children deserve justice, under old state laws, the statute of limitations made it difficult for many survivors to bring suit against the individuals and institutions that contributed to their abuse. Victims had been required to file civil actions or criminal charges against their abusers before they reached the age of 23. But as we have learned, the majority of childhood sexual abuse victims are simply not ready for that level of disclosure so young.
Now, however, under the Child Victims Act, New Yorkers who were sexually victimized as children are now able to file a civil lawsuit against an abuser or institution anytime until the age of 55. Victims can also seek criminal prosecution of their abuser until the age of 28. In addition, a grace period until August 14, 2021 has been imposed for any adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse of any age to file a claim against an abuser or institution.
Child sexual abusers cause untold harm that can haunt survivors for a lifetime. These people and the institutions and individuals in authority who allow this behavior to continue can be held accountable. If you suffered childhood sexual abuse at the hands of an individual or in an institutional setting such as a church, camp, or other program, you deserve the chance for justice and the ability to move on iwith your life.
At the Law Office of David S. Leigh, P.C., we are experienced New York sexual abuse lawyers who understand the lifelong implications of what childhood sexual assault can do to an individual. We are here to help you hold individuals and organizations accountable. Contact us for a confidential, no-cost consultation to understand your rights under the law.