Sexual abuse of a minor is a serious crime that can be prosecuted on both a state and federal level. In addition to criminal prosecution, survivors have the option to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser to seek justice and financial compensation.
The San Diego child sexual abuse lawyers at Greenberg Gross are here to help. Our committed team of litigation professionals have the knowledge and resources to help you obtain just compensation for the difficulties you experienced as a result of childhood sexual abuse.
Defining Child Sexual Abuse in California
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), approximately 57,000 child sexual abuse claims were substantiated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2016 alone. The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) reports that more than 3,500 child sexual abuse cases were reported in the state of California in 2019.
Child sexual abuse is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as any sexual actions involving an underage person who does not understand or consent to those actions. It also includes sexual activity to which the minor is developmentally incapable of consenting.
The state of California further defines sexual abuse as any sexually-oriented act involving a minor child under 14 years of age. California Penal Code § 288 provides a more comprehensive definition, along with legal rights and remedies for survivors. An attorney familiar with federal and state child sexual abuse laws can help you understand the laws and your legal rights as a survivor.
Child Sexual Abuse Can Impact Survivors’ Health and Quality of Life
A sexual abuse survivor can experience physical, psychological, and behavioral effects for years or even decades after the abuse occurred. Per, the CDC, survivors may experience:
- Physical injury
- Short- and long-term physical illness
- Severe depression
- Addiction and substance abuse disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
These effects can affect the survivor’s ability to establish healthy interpersonal relationships, build a family, pursue a career, and meet financial goals. Overall, such issues can impact the survivor’s quality of life, making it more difficult for them to participate in and enjoy recreational activities, social gatherings, and hobbies.
If you or someone you know experienced child sexual abuse, you are not alone. Greenberg Gross LLP is here to help you through the legal process, so you can seek compensation for the long-term physical and psychological impacts of abuse.
Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse in San Diego, California, and the U.S.
The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) reports that nearly 3,500 incidences of sexual abuse were reported in California in 2019. Unfortunately, this reflects only a small number of the actual cases, as child sexual abuse is massively underreported.
The vast majority of sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child knows, such as a family member or acquaintance. In fact, according to RAINN, fully 93% of reported substantiated cases are perpetrated by someone familiar to the child.
Multiple Parties Can Be Held Liable for Child Sexual Abuse in San Diego
Sexual abuse of a minor can occur in family settings, public schools, childcare facilities, sports events, churches, and many other settings. It can be perpetrated by family members, teachers, coaches, clergy, and even other children.
In some cases, a school, school district, church, or other public entity may try to undermine or hide allegations of sexual misconduct. When a public entity or other organization fails to address sexual abuse or attempts to hide allegations, they are also liable and can be sued for damages by survivors.
We Will Pursue All Responsible Parties in San Diego Child Sexual Abuse Cases
The California sexual abuse attorneys at Greenberg Gross are committed to holding every involved person and entity accountable for the abuse of a minor. No matter how large or powerful the organization, we will not hesitate to represent the interests of survivors in a court of law.
Our legal team will:
- Thoroughly investigate the allegations
- Obtain evidence to prove that the abuse occurred
- Compile evidence to show that the perpetrator is guilty of abuse
- Establish evidence to show that the school, church, or other entity tried to hide the allegations
- Determine the value of all the survivor’s losses
- File a civil lawsuit against all the responsible parties within the statute of limitations
If you or someone you love experienced child sexual abuse in San Diego, our firm can help you seek justice against the responsible individuals and organizations. We accept sexual abuse cases on contingency, which means you don’t pay legal costs or fees until we secure a settlement.
Losses You May Include in Your San Diego Child Sexual Abuse Case
Although your case may be prosecuted in criminal court, such cases rarely provide financial compensation for the survivor. A civil lawsuit can provide financial remedies for the losses you sustained as a result of childhood sexual abuse. Such losses may include:
- Medical bills
- Medicine and other treatment
- Therapy and rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
A San Diego child sexual abuse lawyer from Greenberg Gross can help you determine which losses to incorporate into your claim.
It’s Not Too Late to Seek Justice for Childhood Sexual Abuse in San Diego
Even if you or a loved one experienced sexual abuse years ago, recent California legislation under AB 218 allows survivors to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator up to 22 years after the survivor turned 18. In addition, survivors who discover psychological injury or illness after the 22-year deadline may still be able to file a lawsuit within 5 years of diagnosis.
The compassionate attorneys at Greenberg Gross are well-versed in California and federal laws regarding sexual abuse of minors. We can help you determine which time limits apply to your particular case.
Contact Us to Discuss Your Case and Learn More About Your Legal Rights
Greenberg Gross is dedicated to representing child sexual abuse survivors in San Diego and throughout California. We have provided support to survivors of sexual and physical assault.
In addition, our attorneys have extensive experience with complex litigation and federal prosecution. We will actively leverage that knowledge to handle even the most challenging child sexual assault case.
Contact our firm today to speak with an attorney and discuss your legal options.