Unfortunately, child sexual abuse affects thousands of children in the West Palm Beach area every year. However, some victims are unable or unwilling to speak up at the time of the incident, and the effects of child sexual abuse may not become known for years afterward.
However, a skilled attorney could help hold perpetrators of sexual abuse against children responsible for their actions through the pursuit of criminal charges as well as civil damages. A West Palm Beach child sexual abuse lawyer could also help you if sexual abuse during childhood is the cause of your current physical and mental health concerns. Whether the perpetrator is a single person acting on their own or someone who leveraged a position of authority to commit these acts, you may have the right to seek compensation.
Effects of Sexual Abuse
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that approximately one quarter of all children will experience some form of sexual abuse before reaching adulthood. ACOG defines sexual abuse as any form of sexual contact performed without the other person’s consent, which includes when a victim is underage and therefore lacks the maturity and mental capacity to consent to any form of sexual contact.
While the physical damage sustained from an incident of sexual abuse can be serious, other consequences such as chronic pain, obesity, and alcoholism or drug abuse may not appear until years after the abuse occurs. Sexual abuse can also cause a myriad of mental health concerns, and victims of childhood sexual abuse could be affected by anxiety, depression, or PTSD. A West Palm Beach child sexual abuse attorney could help survivors evaluate their symptoms and connect them to past sexual trauma.
Legal Options Following Childhood Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is a serious offense that can land a perpetrator in prison. However, there is no cause of action that allows a victim to seek compensation in civil court specifically for sexual misconduct. Instead, an experienced attorney could help a survivor tailor their case according to West Palm Beach’s causes of action for assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and/or kidnapping.
A school, youth group, or religious organization may also share blame with an abuser in some cases, as plaintiffs may allege that an organization enabled someone’s abuse of children through negligent hiring or poor security. A child sexual abuse lawyer in West Palm Beach could help a plaintiff select a relevant cause of action to bring against the defendant(s) in their case.
For most personal injury cases involving intentional attacks, the statute of limitations applicable to West Palm Beach states that plaintiffs must pursue cases no more than four years after the incident. However, Florida Statutes §95.11 recognizes that many victims of sexual abuse are children who may repress their experiences. Accordingly, this statute establishes that there is no time limit on when someone victimized when they were under the age of 16 can pursue a case based on sexual abuse. For more information, consult with a compassionate lawyer.
How a West Palm Beach Child Sexual Abuse Attorney Could Help
All victims of sexual abuse deserve justice, especially underage survivors. Depending on the circumstances, these claims can target perpetrators of assaults as well as the companies or organizations that employed them.
Claimants can enlist the help of a knowledgeable attorney to pursue payments for reimbursement of medical costs, compensation for any lost quality of life, and even punitive damages in cases of extreme indifference or negligence. Contact a West Palm Beach child sexual abuse lawyer today to schedule an initial consultation.