San Bernardino Child Sexual Abuse & Molestation Attorneys
If you believe that your child has been the victim of sexual abuse or molestation, you should contact a compassionate attorney. A lawyer can play an integral role in your child’s recovery from the trauma of sexual abuse or molestation.
In the United States, sexual abuse of a minor, child molestation, and child abuse are criminal offenses that carry stiff penalties. In a criminal case, a state or federal prosecutor must bring charges against the defendant. A victim of sexual abuse may also wish to bring a separate civil lawsuit against his or her abuser in state or federal court.
A civil suit allows a victim and his or her family to recover damages to compensate for pain, suffering, and emotional distress. A victim and his or her family may also recover the costs of medical expenses, counseling, and psychiatric treatment by filing a civil lawsuit. An experienced lawyer will seek all available forms of compensation for the injuries and harms suffered as a result of child sexual abuse or molestation.
In order to preserve your child’s rights, you must act quickly after learning of sexual abuse or molestation. It will be much easier to prove your child’s case against an abuser or other responsible party if you report sexual abuse or molestation soon after it happens. A deadline imposed by courts known as a statute of limitation may prevent your child’s case from being heard regardless of how strong it is.
Understanding Child Sexual Abuse and Molestation
It is important to understand the range of activities that constitute child sexual abuse or molestation. The Mayo Clinic defines child sexual abuse as any sexual activity between an adult and a child. They include activities such as touching, fondling, oral-genital contact, intercourse, or exposure to pornography in their definition of child sexual abuse. These behaviors are usually meant to arouse the adult in a sexual manner and often times, little or no thought is given to the impact of the behavior on the child.
There does not need to be bodily contact or physical touching for sexual abuse or molestation to take place. Activities such as the display of genitalia, verbal pressure or threats to engage in sexual activity, and the exploitation of children as prostitutes or for pornography may also be considered child sexual abuse or molestation.
Tragically, these acts occur more frequently than you may think. Some researchers estimate that before reaching the age of consent, nearly one out of every six boys and one out of every four girls are sexually abused or molested.
In many cases of child sexual abuse or molestation, the perpetrator is an adult who knows his or her victim but is not related to his or her victim. For example, the abuser may be a friend of the child’s family, teacher, tutor, coach, babysitter, or neighbor.
Detecting Sexual Abuse or Molestation in Children
Because abusive or exploitative behavior often occurs in secret, and your child may be reluctant or scared to tell you about sexual abuse or molestation, it can be very difficult to determine whether your child has been victimized.
If your child begins to be have differently, you may suspect that he or she has been the victim of sexual abuse or molestation. A victim of sexual abuse may become depressed and withdraw from his or her family. Your child may also be nervous, upset, anxious, or suffer from bad dreams. Often, victims of sexual abuse or molestation will reenact their abuse when playing alone or interacting with others. Other signs of sexual abuse or molestation include the regression of skills or age-inappropriate behavior. For example, an abused child may start to suck his or her thumb or begin to wet the bed.
A recent study suggests that survivors of child sexual abuse or molestation may even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or “PTSD.” Tragically, many abuse victims try to hurt or even kill themselves.
What To Do if You Think Your Child Has Been Sexually Abused
It is important to stay calm if your child says that he or she has been sexually abused or molested. Advocates for children encourage parents to reassure their child that it is not his or her fault that the abuse took place, and to commend the child for coming forward. You should remind your child that you will help keep him or her safe.
If your child tells you that he or she has been abused, you should take your child to a mental health or medical professional right away. A number of child advocacy centers offer help to child abuse or molestation victims and their families in California. The National Children’s Alliance has more information about the services available to victims and their families, as well as a list of these centers. You may also want to visit:
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Center
- The National Center for Children Exposed to Violence
Protect Your Child and Family. Contact an Attorney Serving the San Bernadino Area Today!
It can be very difficult to cope with the realization that your child has been the victim of sexual abuse or molestation. A compassionate attorney advocate can help your child and your family recover from this trauma, and can play an integral role in helping your child go on to lead a full, happy, and healthy life. For a free and confidential consultation with a lawyer serving the San Bernadino area, call Estey & Bomberger at 909-882-2016.
In order to support your child through this difficult time, you may need to seek help too. It may be necessary for you and your child to undergo therapy or consult with a reputable psychiatrist. The experienced attorneys at Estey & Bomberger can help bring abusers to justice, and will see to it that you and your child will get the help that you need and the compensation you deserve.
The lawyers at Estey & Bomberger have successfully represented many victims of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits. Protect your rights by consulting with a compassionate attorney today!