In 1982, the first National Child Abuse Prevention week was celebrated in the U.S. and by the following year, April had been named National Child Abuse Prevention month, which has been celebrated ever since.
Facts About Child Abuse
No one wants to believe that someone would take advantage of an innocent child, but the reality is that 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18-years-old. There are four major types of child abuse:
Beating, pushing, shaking, pinching, burning, hair pulling, biting, and choking are all forms of physical abuse. While some of these don’t leave physical scars, the constant abuse can leave emotional and mental scars.
Using guilt, withholding love, name calling, and shaming to get a child to do what you want and make them feel insignificant are all forms of emotional abuse.
Failing to provide a child with food, shelter, clothing, medical care or whatever else they need is neglect. This is also the most frequent form of child abuse.
Any sexual contact between an adult and child is sexual abuse. This may include:
- Exposing Body Parts
- Oral, Anal, or Vaginal Sex
- Commercial Exploitation – using children in pornography.
In about 90% of all child sexual abuse cases, the child is being abused by someone that they know.
Common Signs Of Child Abuse
In many cases, the abuse could have been stopped much sooner than it was if someone had seen the warning signs. This can include:
- suddenly withdrawing from their normal activities
- returning to “child-like” habits, such as bedwetting or thumb sucking
- a drop in grades
- torn clothing or underwear
- bruising or swelling
- unexpected sexual knowledge
If you or a loved one suspect child abuse is taking place, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible, including contacting an attorney.
How Can An Attorney Help?
In many cases, the victims and even the caregivers of the child can pursue a sexual abuse lawsuit against the person who committed this heinous crime.
This lawsuit is in addition to any criminal charges brought against the defendant and is designed to provide the plaintiffs with compensation for a variety of losses. For the child, this can include monetary compensation for their physical trauma and emotional trauma, as well as any medical expenses that arise from the trauma they sustained. The caregivers can seek damages to cover the emotional turmoil they have suffered knowing that their child was abused at the hands of another.
Compensation may be received in the form of damages awarded at the end of a trial by a judge and/or jury, or it may come through a settlement agreement negotiated between the plaintiffs and defendants.
How Much Is A Lawsuit Worth?
The amount a case is worth varies. Many factors are taken into account, such as how long the abuse went on for and if the physical damages left permanent scarring or disfigurement. An experienced attorney can review a case and provide the plaintiff with an estimate of how much they may be able to obtain.
I’m Afraid Of Publicity – Can I Still File?
Absolutely. Plaintiffs have the option of filing as a Jane or John Doe, only releasing their name to the parties involved and the court. In fact, in a recent case where a young woman took a stand against sexual assault and decided to seek justice against her attacker, Brock Turner, she was able to file and release the letter she read on the stand for the nation to hear, all while staying completely anonymous.
How Long Will It Take?
Lawsuits do take time. The fastest cases are resolved within a few months, but in some cases, it may take over a year. That shouldn’t deter a victim from filing. It may be a long road but the results can be life-changing and provide the plaintiff with a sense that justice has been served.