Your child’s well-being is the top priority, no matter where they are. That’s why the first thing you should do if they were sexually abused in school is to physically remove them from the abusive environment. That means you should take your child out of the school as soon as you discover the abuse. Once that’s done, you should categorically rule out returning your child to that school until the abuser is no longer there. You also can opt to enroll them in another school.
Every parent of a school-aged child places an incredible level of trust in the school their child attends. When the parent isn’t around, the school is responsible for ensuring its students are safe and well cared for. That’s why finding out that your child has been sexually abused at school is such a nightmare. If you are in this situation, you can take important steps to help your child and your family recover from this serious breach of trust, including legal action.
Get as Many Details About the Abuse as Possible
This will be an incredibly difficult process. However, there are important details of the abuse that you will need to know before you can decide how to proceed. If you can, talk to your child about the abuse and gather as much information as possible. Try to find out the following details:
- Who abused your child?
- When did the abuse occur?
- How many times did the abuse occur?
- What was the exact nature of the abuse?
- Were there any other witnesses?
In many situations, survivors of sexual abuse feel shame and guilt. So, your child may not want to talk to you personally about the experience. Try not to take this personally. This psychologically and emotionally trying situation can take a toll on your child, you, and your family. Fortunately, resources are available to help you cope and determine how to resolve it.
Seek Professional Help to Begin Recovering from Abuse
Even if your child talks to you about the circumstances of their abuse, the reality is that they have suffered an incredibly traumatic experience. The aftereffects of school sexual abuse live on in survivors for years. So, getting help from a mental health professional can help you and your child cope and work through the situation.
The sooner you seek out this help and connect your child with it, the sooner they can begin healing from this traumatic event. That said, make sure to consider your mental health as well. You may also be struggling with feelings of guilt and frustration in the aftermath of finding out your child is a victim of school sexual abuse. So, while you get counseling for your child, you may also want to consider getting help for yourself.
Report the Abuse to the Proper Authorities
Once you have secured your child’s safety and removed them from the abusive environment, you can work on holding the liable parties accountable and safeguarding other people who could face a similar situation. Report the abuse to the proper authorities. That would include the local police department and the school’s leaders.
Inform them of your child’s situation and give them as many details as possible. Depending on the size of the police department where you live, they may have a special victim unit or a group of officers who investigate sexual abuse cases. Even if they don’t, you can be sure that whoever investigates the case will want to speak to your child in person about what happened.
Know That School Sexual Abuse Is Not Your Fault, and It’s Not Your Child’s Fault
It’s normal to feel guilty after you find out your child has been a victim of school sexual abuse. You would never have chosen the school if you had known that sexual abuse was taking place there.
Just as you want to reassure your child that it’s not their fault they were abused, it’s not your fault either. The abuser is always at fault for their actions, and it’s the abuser who should be held legally accountable. It can be hard for you and your child to internalize this but doing so is an important part of the healing process.
We Can Represent You in a School Sexual Abuse Case
Schools must take reasonable steps to prevent school sexual abuse. Unfortunately, in many situations, schools or school districts fail to take steps to prevent sexual abuse from occurring. If you suspect this kind of negligence contributed to your child’s case, you can fight back, and we can help you. Greenberg Gross’ trial lawyers and entire staff are passionate about helping abuse survivors and their families recover damages for school sexual abuse.
We understand high-stakes litigation and proudly represent survivors of sexual abuse and physical assault. You can contact us and talk to our team about your case during a free, confidential consultation. We may be able to hold the school district accountable by getting you the compensation you need to start rebuilding your child’s life.