Institutional sexual abuse happens when a person uses their position or authority within an institution as means to assault or abuse another person sexually. These crimes can occur anywhere, including medical facilities, nursing homes, assisted living, and religious and educational institutions.
When institutions fail to take proper precautions to protect their members, this abuse can go unchecked. However, it’s important to know that legal options are available to abuse victims and their families. Our sexual abuse attorney can help you hold abusers and the institutions that employ them accountable.
Recourse for Sexual Abuse Victims and Their Families
Institutional sexual abuse can have mental, emotional, and financial consequences. Victims may need to seek psychological counseling or other rehabilitation efforts to recover. Victims and their families can pursue criminal and civil lawsuits against the abuser and their employer to get justice.
Criminal penalties can be brought against a person found guilty of sexual assault or abuse.
These penalties can include:
- Jail time
- A prison sentence
- Registration on the public sex offender registry (barring them from working with vulnerable individuals in the future)
If the abused person is under age 18 or is physically or mentally disabled, these penalties may be enhanced. Abusers may face additional penalties if they are found guilty of other charges.
Civil penalties can be brought against the institution that employed the abuser. Civil lawsuits seek restitution for physical, financial, and emotional harm sustained due to the abuse. They also help hold institutions responsible for failing to protect their members.
Victims may be able to recover compensation for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder, therapy cost, and other related expenses.
To be successful in these cases, you must prove liability.
You also must show you suffered compensatory damages because of the harm you experienced. An attorney can help victims and their families develop a legal argument based on these elements to win compensation.
How Institutional Sexual Abuse Happens
Institutions do not create sexual predators; however, they can play a part in enabling them or creating a culture that supports their behavior. Some things that can lead to and influence ongoing institutional sexual abuse can include:
- Lack of supervision
- Negligent hiring practices
- Lack of open communication
- Poor training on sexual abuse and identification
- Lack of proper discipline
- Shaming or intimidating victims of abuse
- Lack of channels to report abuse
On a basic level, these institutions are responsible for creating a safe, welcoming environment. When they fail, victims can seek to hold them liable in a court of law.
Where does Institutional Sexual Abuse Happen?
Institutional sexual abuse can occur anywhere where vulnerable individuals are. Vulnerable persons are individuals most susceptible to being harmed, such as minors, physically or mentally disabled persons, and the elderly.
While this type of abuse can happen anywhere to anyone, the following are the most common institutions where individuals may be sexually abused:
- Religious institutions (churches, faith-based schools, missions, etc.)
- Nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- Educational institutions (private and public schools, after-school programs, etc.)
- Medical institutions (hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, etc.)
How Our Institutional Sexual Abuse Attorney Can Help You
If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, you may not have the mental or emotional capacity to take on a lawsuit alone. An attorney can lead your case and keep your identity anonymous if you prefer. Here are just a few ways that a lawyer can help you:
- Investigating your case
- Identifying all liable parties
- Working with experts to prove the damages suffered and liability
- Representing you in court and in any negotiations
- Filing your lawsuit within state deadlines
Most importantly, your attorney will be your legal advocate, working on your behalf to have justice served.
Statute of Limitations on Institutional Sexual Abuse Cases
The statute of limitations on institutional sexual abuse cases can vary per state. An attorney can inform you of your state’s laws filing deadlines, or you can research it on your own. Deadlines for civil cases can be as little as one year in some states. We recommend that you reach out to an attorney to start your case immediately so that you can protect your right to seek compensation.
Greenberg Gross Advocates for Institutional Sexual Abuse Victims – Call Us Today
At Greenberg Gross, our clients are the priority. Perpetrators and the institutions that employ them should be held accountable for their actions. We will advocate for you in court, stand up to these institutions and demand fair compensation for you.
Contact us now for your free consultation.