The sexual abuse of a minor is a terrible crime against the victim and all of society. Often, the people who commit these kinds of crimes are close to the victim’s family or are people in positions of authority over the victim, like a coach, babysitter or teacher.
After a child confides in a loved one about the abuse, that person will probably do everything he or she can to help the child move on from the abuse. Unfortunately, the healing process can take years or even be lifelong. It is not uncommon for sexual abuse survivors to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can last for years.
Treatment for PTSD can often include regular sessions of therapy to help the victim address the pain, fear, social issues and betrayal that result from sexual abuse. That therapy can often cost thousands of dollars a year. Insurance coverage for that therapy may be limited or nonexistent.
The victim’s family has already been damaged by someone’s criminal behavior toward the child. They shouldn’t bear a serious financial burden for years to come. People whose children experienced sexual abuse should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help them after the crime.
Far too often in this country, those who commit sexual crimes are not held criminally accountable. Less than a third of cases are ever reported to the authorities, and of those, only a fraction ever see the inside of a courtroom. Often, there is little physical evidence. Children can take many days, or even months and years, to come forward about abuse.
Sometimes, the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution has already passed. Other times, the victim may not be in an emotional state where testifying against the abuser is possible. Whatever the reason, many times criminal court isn’t the answer to abuse.
For many families, it makes far more sense to hold a sexual predator accountable in civil court. Everything from current therapy to projected future expenses and even attorney fees can become the financial liability of the abuser. Not only will a civil court decision vindicate the child who was victimized after such terrible abuse, it will also help the whole family move on from the abuse.
The future often seems brighter when being able to provide financially for a child’s ongoing therapy and support needs isn’t a concern.
When a child comes forward to tell someone about his or her sexual abuse, the most important thing anyone can do is support and love the child. Recovery is possible, but it will take a lot of work and even more love and support from trusted adults. Partnering with an attorney to recover financial losses is also important, as the legal help can allow the adults to focus more fully on the child involved, instead of insurance and finances.