Over the last few years, we have seen news stories dominated by stories of sexual abuse. These stories have rocked the nation. Whether it has been news of clergy sexual abuse or coaches abusing children, one thing that needs to be focused on is the impact on the victims.
Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. is here for you if you or a loved one have been sexually abused. Whether this happened recently or years ago, we want to help you get justice. When you need a Bronx sexual abuse attorney, call us today so we can begin work on securing the compensation you deserve.
This Is A Major Problem
Sexual abuse happens to children and vulnerable adults more than you think. Consider the following groups of people who often turn out to be child sexual abusers:
- Religious leaders
- Foster parents
- Scout leaders
We also know that members of a victim’s family are often the perpetrators of sexual abuse. This can include close relative, step-parents, step-siblings, older children in the family and more. According to the Darkness to Light:
- About 90% of children who are abused know their abuser
- About 30% of children who are abused are abused by family members
This is not something that can be taken lightly, not if we want to stop the culture of abuse in our country. Currently, around 10% of children in the US will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. That is a staggering amount of children.
We also know those vulnerable adults are abused by those entrusted with their care:
- Nursing home staff
- Doctors, nurses, or other healthcare professionals
- In-home care aides
Anyone who is elderly, disabled, or vulnerable due to a medical condition should never have to worry about being sexually abused by the people there to help them.
How many stories have we seen about sexual abuse where there were multiple people and agencies who knew that abuse was taking place and did nothing? So many organizations and employers of abusers have worked to actively cover up that abuse took place. In these cases, it is important that they are held accountable as well. Their actions played just as large a role as the perpetrators in ruining lives.
FAQs for Bronx Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Sexual abuse can trigger a variety of negative emotions, including anger, fear, depression, and humiliation. Sexual assault survivors have many questions that they are too afraid or embarrassed to ask:
Should I report it? Will anyone believe me? What can the abuser do to me if he finds out that I reported it? Who should I talk to?
Answering the last question, talk to a Bronx sexual abuse lawyer from Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., who will provide top-quality legal counsel and guide you through the process of reporting sexual abuse, seeking justice and compensation, and getting protection from the abuser.
What is Sexual Abuse in New York City?
Nearly 50,000 women are raped annually in New York City alone, according to the NYCAASA. However, the disturbing statistics do not include other forms of sexual violence.
Sexual abuse takes various forms, the most common of which are:
- Unwanted sexual advances;
- Unwelcome touching, groping, fondling, kissing, and grabbing of private parts;
- Rape and date rape;
- Sexual exploitation;
- Sexual harassment
- Taking photos or videos without permission or knowledge;
- Exposing one’s genitals (flashing);
- Voyeurism; and
- Forcefully showing unwanted pornography.
When any of the forms of sexual abuse mentioned above involves a minor, consent is not considered by New York City courts because children cannot legally consent to sexual relations until they reach the age of consent (which is 17 in the state of New York).
Who Are Common Defendants in Sexual Abuse Cases?
While anyone can commit this crime, approximately 80 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.
In the vast majority of sexual assault lawsuits filed in the Bronx and elsewhere in New York City, the following parties are accused of sexually abusing an alleged victim:
- Employers, managers, and supervisors;
- Doctors, surgeons, dentists, and other healthcare providers;
- Clergy and church;
- Members and leaders of youth organizations;
- Nursing home workers;
- Teachers in schools;
- Coaches and instructors in sports teams and other sports organizations;
- Family members and relatives; and
- Powerful and influential people (government officials, businesspeople, etc.).
How Long Do You Have to File a Sexual Abuse Claim in NYC?
If you have been sexually abused in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, or elsewhere in New York City, you could take advantage of the new law in the state of New York.
Under the Child Victims Act, which took effect on August 14, 2019, there are no time restrictions for child sexual abuse cases. Thus, victims of sexual abuse in the state have a one-year window to sue their abuser regardless of when the abuse occurred (even if their lawsuit was previously dismissed).
What Is the Difference Between Sexual Abuse Civil and Criminal Lawsuits?
The largest difference between the two lawsuits is the burden of proof and punishment. In civil cases, the defendant is expected to compensate the sexually abused victim for the losses and damages suffered by the crime, while the victim is required to prove that the crime occurred by a preponderance of the evidence.
In criminal cases, meanwhile, the defendant is facing restrictions in freedom and could be imprisoned if the victim successfully proves the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Another significant difference is that criminal sexual abuse cases are brought by the state of New York, while civil lawsuits are initiated by the victim and their Bronx sexual abuse lawyer.
Bronx Sexual Abuse Cases: Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children
Children who have been sexually abused are often afraid to speak about their experiences. This may be due to feelings of shame, fear of consequences, etc. Thus, parents and other adults may need to monitor children for potential signs of sexual abuse. Examples include:
- Bruising, particularly in the genital area
- Bedwetting or other regressive behaviors
- Changes in mood
- STIs and/or pregnancy
- Knowledge of sexual topics that a child of their age would not be expected to have
Be aware, these warning signs aren’t conclusive. You shouldn’t necessarily assume a child is definitely being sexually abused if you notice any of them. However, you should certainly investigate the matter further. You may begin doing so by discussing the issue with the child if you feel they will be comfortable speaking with you.
How to Ask a Child if They Have Been Sexually Abused
sking a child if they have been sexually abused can be difficult, but it is important to approach the conversation with care and sensitivity. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Create a safe and comfortable environment: Make sure the child feels safe and is in a private place where they can speak freely without interruption.
- Use age-appropriate language: Use words that the child will understand and avoid using medical or legal jargon.
- Be patient and non-judgmental: Give the child time to speak and let them tell their story at their own pace. Avoid interrupting or showing shock or disbelief.
- Listen actively: Show that you are listening by making eye contact and nodding. Reflect back what the child has said to show that you understand.
- Reassure the child: Let the child know that they are not to blame for the abuse and that it is not their fault.
- Let the child know that it’s not their fault and that they are not alone: Let them know that you are there to support them and that there are people who can help.
- Be aware that they may not disclose: Some children may not be ready or able to talk about their abuse, and that’s ok, respect their decision and let them know that they can talk to you whenever they feel ready.
- Report it to the appropriate authorities: If a child does disclose abuse to you, it is important that you report it to the appropriate authorities such as Child Protective Services and the Police.
Remember that child sexual abuse is a serious crime and that it’s important to report it to the appropriate authorities. It’s also important to be aware that disclosing abuse can be a difficult and traumatic experience for a child, and that it is critical to provide them with appropriate support and care.
Where To Turn Now
You may have been the victim of abuse as a child or an adult. The abuse may have recently happened or it could have occurred years ago. Regardless of your situation, Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. is here to help.
Our compassionate team will sit with you and listen because we know how important that is. Then we will get to work on securing the compensation you deserve. This could include:
- Pain and suffering damages
- Compensation for counseling
- Punitive damages against the perpetrator(s)
Punitive damages could extend to anyone who tried to cover up the abuse as well. When you need a Bronx sexual abuse attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 215-929-7216. The effects of sexual abuse are long-lasting and we want to help you seek justice.