The school year is supposed to be the beginning of something new and exciting but sometimes, adults are made aware of circumstances that shocks them to their core. Just this past August, on the second day of school, a brave student informed her teacher that she was being sexually abused.
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The victim, who is only 7-years-old and in second grade, felt comfortable enough with her teacher that she informed her that a man was sexually abusing her every night over a period of several months. The teacher was horrified to hear the child tell her that the man removed her underwear and then place either his finger or his penis inside of her anus.
The teacher immediately contacted Family Services who in turn called the police. The victim was then escorted to a child advocacy group where she underwent a forensic interview.
When a child reports that they have been sexually assaulted, a forensic interview is performed. The purpose of this interview is to obtain as much detailed evidence as possible about any inappropriate contact the child may have experienced. Information that the investigators are seeking to obtain may include:
During the interview, the child reported that she had informed her mother about the repeated assault but that her mother told her she must be confused and that he must have just accidentally put his hand on her butt.
The police arrested the 23-year-old man who the child alleges assaulted her and took him to the hospital for a “suspect sexual assault examination”. He has denied the allegations.
That is up to the police and Family Services. If they determine that the mother wasn’t intentionally placing her daughter in harm’s way, they may allow the child to return home. At this time, the police have interviewed the mother who confirmed the daughter told her something but that she only understood that the man had touched her hip.
It’s amazing that the child felt confident enough to report the abuse as police have not only confirmed that she told her mother and was rebuked but also that the man assaulting her told her that it was their special secret.
In many cases, children don’t report their assault. This occurs for several reasons:
It’s difficult for any victim to speak up, let alone a child, which is why it’s so important to take them seriously when they come forward.
For the children that are too scared to speak out, adults should be aware of the common signs that sexual abuse may be occurring. This includes:
If sexual assault is suspected, making a report is the best thing that any adult can do.
Yes and no. It’s typical for the child’s guardian to file a lawsuit on the child’s behalf. This lawsuit is completely separate from any criminal charges that may be filed against the abuser and is intended to provide the child with monetary compensation for the losses they have suffered. Depending on the psychological and physical injuries that are sustained, this might include compensation for:
The exact amount that could be recovered through either a settlement or verdict varies from case to case.