California Childhood Sexual Abuse Attorneys
Abusers: Your Time is UP.
Our attorneys focus on holding institutions responsible for allowing abuse to occur. We typically do not handle matters involving abuse by a personal acquaintance, family member, or other individual outside of an organization.
Childhood sexual abuse is an indelible trauma that can have deleterious effects on a survivor’s physical and psychological wellbeing. The effects of childhood sexual abuse can persist long into adulthood, potentially tainting relationships, impairing job performance, and diminishing quality of life.
While no reparation can truly atone for the injustice these survivors endured, civil litigation may be an empowering and effective opportunity for the survivor to confront their abuser and obtain some compensation to begin a more hopeful healing journey. One cannot reclaim a stolen childhood, but together we can help bring perpetrators to justice and ensure safeguards are put in place by the institutions that enabled the misconduct. Together, we can save future children from these unspeakable acts.
At Boucher LLP, we have helped hundreds of survivors of childhood sexual abuse make their claims against their abusers and the responsible organizations. We are a team of attorneys who are committed to compassionate care and will fight tirelessly on behalf of our clients to reclaim their lives and end ongoing abuse.
Stats on Child Sexual Abuse in California
It is hard to determine exactly how prevalent childhood sexual abuse is in California, as well as nationally. Sexual abuse is largely underreported. Here are some recent California and national statistics as reported by a number of reliable sources:
- In California, there were 53,124 reported childhood sexual abuse perpetrators in 2020;
- Over 90% of child victims know their offender, with almost half of the offenders being a family member;
- Only about 38% of child victims disclose the fact that they have been sexually abused. Some never report the abuse;
- High school dropout rates reportedly may increase as much as 40% for survivors of childhood sexual abuse;
- Youth that are sexually abused are five times more likely than the general population to be hospitalized for a mental or physical health concern; and
- Children who experience sexual abuse are at least three times more likely to attempt suicide later in life, and as they get older, the risk of suicide attempts increases.
The effects of childhood sexual abuse can be devastating. Trauma can present itself in many different ways, some of which may not surface until adulthood.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit for Childhood Sexual Abuse in California
A civil lawsuit based on child sexual abuse can be brought in California under a number of different legal theories including:
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress, and
- Negligent infliction of emotional distress.
All these causes of action fall under the umbrella of personal injury, and the appropriate claim for you depends on the circumstances of your case. Experienced California childhood sexual abuse attorneys can help you identify the best strategy to move forward.
It is important to note that sexual assault claims can also give rise to criminal prosecution. If convicted, the abuser can be punished with jail time, fines, probation, and other sanctions. A civil lawsuit, on the other hand, awards the survivor monetary compensation for what they have endured. It also requires less proof than a criminal case. The childhood sexual abuse lawyers at Boucher LLP can help you meet the civil standard to bring your abuser to justice.
Perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse often rely on their victims remaining silent for fear of embarrassment or that they may not be believed. You have the legal right to stand up for yourself and prove them wrong.
Who Can Be Liable for Childhood Sexual Abuse in California?
In some cases, a civil lawsuit can be brought against additional parties who have some degree of responsibility for the abuse. If the abuse occurred at a school, church, business, or organization, these institutions could also be liable for the harm you endured.
For example, clergy sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church has been a big issue over the last several decades. In many cases, the church is found liable because it knew of or should have known of the abuse and failed to prevent it. This has resulted in billions of dollars in payouts to survivors.
As another example, a school district that failed to properly screen an employee before hiring them could be found liable if the employee commits abuse. These types of liability claims often fall under the theory of “negligent hiring” or “negligent supervision.” The California sexual abuse attorneys at Boucher LLP can help you determine if a third party should be held liable for your abuse.
Damages for Childhood Sexual Abuse
No amount of monetary compensation can ever erase the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. What it can do is restore power to the victims and punish abusers for their actions. Damages may include:
- Medical expenses,
- Therapy costs related to trauma,
- Psychological or emotional damage,
- Pain and suffering,
- Post traumatic stress, and
- Anxiety and depression.
Your compensation is based on the unique circumstances of your case. Boucher LLP child sex abuse lawyers are committed to ensuring you receive the compensation you are entitled to for the immeasurable harm you have endured. Above all, you deserve to see justice prevail and your abuser brought to light.
Types of Child Sexual Abuse
Children naturally trust adults in positions of authority, such as their pastor, clergy member, coach, teacher, doctor, or scout leader. Predatory authority figures will often take advantage of their virtually unlimited and unsupervised access to children and begin to “groom” them–that is, to form a relationship with a child or young person with the intention of sexually abusing them.
In some instances of grooming, an abuser may give a child special treatment or attention, or even infiltrate the family through manipulation and seemingly kind acts of generosity. For example, predatory priests in the 1970s and 80s provided families with lavish resources, including cars and school tuition; they invited children to serve at special masses or help at orphanages, and they charmed children with field trips, candy, movies, and vacations.
Once the trusting relationship is established, an abuser may gradually turn the relationship toward sexual conduct, such as sleeping in the same bed. Indeed, not all forms of sexual abuse will involve physical touch. California Penal Code enumerates the various forms of childhood sexual assault, which may include sending obscene matter to a minor, having them pose for explicit photos, masturbating in front of a minor, or any “lewd or lascivious” conduct with a child under the age of 14 for sexual gratification. Any act that is indecent or of a sexual nature with a minor is reprehensible and our attorneys will fight to hold them accountable.
Warning Signs of Child Sexual Abuse
The physical signs of childhood sexual abuse can present as physical injuries, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or pregnancy. However, most children endure additional psychological effects, such as fear, shame, and self-blame. These internalized thoughts may lead to school problems, hyperactivity, and nightmares, and adolescents may face depression, generalized anxiety, suicidal or self-injurious behavior, sleep disorders, and substance abuse. Boys may take extra steps to prove their masculinity or sexuality, often picking fights or bragging about sexual conquests.
What to Do if You Suspect Child Abuse
Contact your local child protective services office or law enforcement department if you suspect child sexual abuse. It is crucial that we pay attention to the signs and ensure children feel comfortable, heard, and understood as they are unlikely to report their abuse. In fact, studies show that only 16 to 25% of children will formally disclose it and older children will often tell their peers before seeking a parent or official. Most will not report their abuse until adulthood as they begin to struggle with the long-term effects. If you are one of these adults, you still have a chance for justice.
California recently updated its childhood sexual abuse laws and extended the time for survivors to bring a claim. Additionally, you do not have to limit your claim to the perpetrator. Under the new law, survivors can sue the organizations, religious institutions, and/or schools that facilitated the abuse or attempted to conceal it. As experienced child sexual abuse lawyers, Ray Boucher and his team are committed to bringing the responsible leaders, supervisors, and administrators to justice.
How Childhood Sexual Abuse Attorneys in California can Help
The attorneys at Boucher LLP have substantial experience with childhood sexual abuse cases, including sexual abuse by the California clergy, teachers, and members of the entertainment industry.
If you or your loved one is a survivor of sexual abuse, we invite you to partner with our committed team of attorneys to seek justice and begin your path to recovery. We will listen to your story with the utmost care and consideration and explain your options on how to proceed with your claim. Our trauma-informed team recognizes the strength required to report abuse at any stage of life and we commend you for sharing your story. Together we can bring the truth to light, effect change, and empower others to do the same.
As more survivors speak up, fewer institutions and organizations can continue to cover up this depraved misconduct. While healing from such atrocities can be a complex journey, our childhood sexual abuse attorneys believe that compensation can offer some measure of closure and it would be our privilege to help you in the fight for justice.
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Our attorneys are here to listen to you and determine what we can do to win justice on your behalf. Please contact us online or callus at 818-340-5400 today for your free case evaluation.