Child sexual abuse is an unfortunate event for the victim and those around them. However, regardless of the condemnation from various communities and walks of life, such cruel acts are reported throughout New Port Richey, Florida, and beyond. Learning that your child has been sexually molested can bring about feelings of anger and guilt, and rightly so. To ensure that the perpetrators get what they deserve, hiring a New Port Richey child sexual abuse lawyer can improve your chances of success.
What is Child Sexual Abuse?
Child sexual abuse refers to the act of an adult or adolescent pressuring, manipulating, or forcing a child into certain activities for sexual gratification. Child sexual abuse can be informed of indecent exposure, proliferating child pornography, forcible rape, and coercion.
The Effects of Child Sexual Abuse
Victims of child sexual abuse usually suffer from harsh and painful traumatic experiences. They are left with life-altering and long-term physical and psychological damage. Children of sexual abuse can contract sexually transmitted diseases and undergo decades of therapy and treatment. With such in mind, children who are sexually abused suffer from conditions and symptoms such as:
- Eating disorders
- Relationship and intimacy issues
- Mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression
- Personality issues/dissociation
- Sexual difficulties
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Children who survive sexual abuse also exhibit symptoms later in life. These include:
- Gastrointestinal health
- Reproductive health issues
Understanding Child Sexual Abuse Laws in Florida
It's estimated that child abuse cases are reported about every 10 minutes throughout the United States. Sexual, emotional, and physical child abuse is a serious problem affecting millions in New Port Richey and throughout Florida.
Florida law prohibits willful or threatening conduct resulting in a child's sexual, mental, or physical harm. Regulations state that a victim does not have to suffer any physical harm for it to qualify as child sexual abuse. Any action expected to result in an injury is considered child abuse. Child sexual abuse charges qualify as a felony.
If the offender's actions of sexual abuse led to permanent disability, disfigurement, and other bodily harm, there is a greater likelihood that they would be convicted of a second-degree felony. The charges are usually first-degree offenses depending on the severity of injuries.
Can a Child Give Consent?
No, they can't. In New Port Richey and, moreover, Florida, anyone under 18 years of age cannot give consent. However, there is an exception for teenagers between 16 and 17 dating those up to age 23.
Consent is permission someone gives for something to happen to them. Consent has six elements, including:
- Knowing contact with regards to maturity, age, experience, and functioning
- The awareness of the consequences that come with contact
- A voluntary decision
- Understanding the standards that society has placed on the contact
- The ability of the contact to make a decision that is mental competent
- The assumption that the participants are equal
How to Tell if Your Child is Being Sexually Abused
The major problem with child sexual abuse cases is that most go unreported due to their shame, guilt, embarrassment, and stigma. The abuser might threaten their victims when confronted with speaking out against them. However, as a parent, you can check for the following signs of child abuse:
- Sudden behavioral changes including fearfulness, mood swings, and excessive crying
- Issues with academics
- Pain, rawness, and bleeding in private parts
- Changes in toilet-training habits
- Rebellious and aggressive behaviors never seen before
- Showing unusual interest in sex issues
Do You Need a Lawyer for your Child Sexual Abuse Claim?
Given the complexities of child sexual abuse, hiring a lawyer is necessary to achieve your best bet towards recouping any damages experienced. A law professional will help you develop a winning strategy, gather evidence, and represent your case in negotiations.
Develop a Winning Strategy
The stakes of a child sexual abuse case are high for all parties involved. If found guilty, the defendant is registered as a child abuser for the rest of their life. It's expected that the defendant will mount a vigorous defense in their favor with this in mind.
Similarly, hiring an attorney allows you to put your best foot forward and go head-to-head with your perpetrators. The professional will help you identify the liable party and then develop a strategy that you can rely on. Choosing to do this on your own might not bring the desired results.
Helping in Gathering Critical Evidence
Like most cases, your ability to provide incriminating evidence will determine whether the defendant walks or pays for their offenses. An attorney can help you conduct thorough investigations, gather available police reports, consult medical experts, and speak with crucial eyewitnesses. This is something you might struggle to complete on your own.
Representing You in Negotiations
Due to the nature of child sexual abuse claims, the liable party might opt for an out-of-court settlement. However, this shouldn't be confused with the defendant's willingness to back down and give in to your demands. Strong representation is still necessary to ensure you receive monetary compensation.
If an agreement isn't reached during the negotiations phase, your representative can file a child abuse lawsuit through the judicial system, which will send your case through the courts for additional review.
Where to Find an Attorney for Your Child Abuse Claim
Child sexual claims are severe and traumatic to speak about. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, we are committed to helping you recover without adding extra stress to your claim. Our lawyers will attend to you and get you started on your case as soon as you hire our firm.
Let us help you recover from your injuries as we fight for your full compensation. We are not afraid of going after anyone, we prioritize quality over quantity, and you can relate to our activities. Call us today to get your obligation-free case evaluation.
New Port Richey Office
5924 Main St
New Port Richey, FL 34652