DC Sexual Abuse Victims Lawyer

Sexual abuse is one of the most traumatic and damaging experiences a person can endure. When the victim is a child or is incapacitated in some manner, the effects can be even more devastating. Such a breach of trust by a caregiver, relative, teacher, coach or spiritual leader, for instance, can create lifelong psychological, emotional, and sexual scarring. If you or a loved one have been sexually abused, contact a DC sexual abuse victims lawyer today, as seeking compensation for the damages you have suffered can be a valuable part of the healing experience. Even if the perpetrator is not criminally held responsible, it can be empowering to hold him or her financially responsible. While no damage award can negate the debilitating effects of such abuse, many victims report that pursuing compensation with the help of a personal injury lawyer can aid in the recovery process. En Español

Sexual abuse victims’ attorney John Yannone answers questions about:

The Damaging Effects of Sexual Abuse

About 20 percent of adult women and 5-10 percent of adult men recall being sexually abused, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime. Persons of any age can suffer sexual abuse. While children are some of the most vulnerable victims, senior citizens, disabled individuals, the mentally ill, and those suffering from dementia or mental decline may also be targeted for abuse.

Sexual abuse can take many forms. Some actions that might not be considered sexual abuse with an adult would constitute sexual abuse of a child, such as engaging in sexually suggestive conduct.  Long into the future, all forms of sexual abuse have the potential to damage a person’s ability to maintain relationships, experience intimacy, trust authority figures, concentrate at school or work, or even hold down a job.

Some victims suffer from physical symptoms that last longer than any physical injuries caused by the abuse. These and other harmful effects are evidence of injury from the sexual assault, for which you can seek compensation through a personal injury claim. Nursing homes, care facilities, group homes, homeless shelters, hospitals, rehab centers, schools, churches, social or civic organizations and sports groups can all attract sexual abuse perpetrators who hope to take advantage. If organization officials or administrators enabled or covered up sexual abuse, you may be able to hold the larger organization responsible for your damages in a personal injury claim as well.

An experienced and compassionate DC sexual abuse victims attorney can guide you through the legal process of obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Filing a Sex Abuse Claim in Washington, DC

If you or your loved one have been the victim of sexual abuse, it is important you speak with a DC sexual abuse victims lawyer as soon as possible. Under DC law, there is a time limit for how long you have to file a personal injury claim against your abuser. If you were under the age of 18 at the time of the abuse, you have until three years from your 18th birthday in order to file your claim.

If you were an adult at the time of the abuse, you have three years from when the abuse last occurred to file your claim. Some states allow a so-called delayed discovery rule, allowing the statute of limitations to be on hold until a person discovers that he or she was abused. DC law is not clear about whether such a delay is allowed. If it has been more than three years, but you repressed memories of your abuse and only just discovered your injuries, speak with your DC sexual abuse victims lawyer about whether you may still be eligible to file a claim.

How Could a Sexual Assault Case be Related to Negligence?

A negligence action would be if sexual assault or abuse is committed by a camp counselor, scout master, teacher, or priest, for example. The individuals are the perpetrators, but the institutions behind them fail to protect the victims from the perpetrators.

For example, a boy scout is at an overnight camp and a scout master is the one who is accused of abuse. It’s incumbent upon the institution of the Boy Scouts of America to have procedures and protections in place to protect the scouts from such conduct. Or if there is a sports team and the coach is the individual perpetrator, if the conduct is obvious or people are concerned and inform the board but they don’t do anything about it, then that is negligence on the part of the league or association itself for failure to take proper action to protect the athlete from the conduct of the coach.

The action of the individual is an intentional tort, but the negligence is in not taking proper action to protect the victim, or, once they have knowledge of what’s going on, not taking action to remove the individual whose conduct is suspect, if not actually problematic.