Sexual abuse of minors is a complex matter that affects millions of children across the nation. Further, the consequences of such abuse can affect victims throughout their lives. If your child or someone in your care was sexually abused or you are an adult survivor, a Boston child sexual abuse lawyer could help you file for damages.
In addition to any criminal charges brought against the abuser, an attorney from our team at Dolman Law Group can file a civil case on your behalf. Doing so allows us to seek compensation for the physical, psychological, and financial effects of the abuse—both immediate and long-term.
Why a Boston Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer Could Be Vital
Our Boston personal injury team takes these cases just as seriously as a prosecutor holding an abuser accountable in criminal court. To fight for the best possible outcome in your personal injury case, we will:
- Collect our own evidence to establish your right to damages
- Prepare a case to prove the abuser's liability
- Represent you in all case matter so you are not forced to interact with the involved parties
- Identify and calculate all of your damages, including those we must assign value to, like pain and suffering
- File your case before the statute of limitations runs out
- Advocate for your financial recovery every step of the way
- Ensure you are prepared to make critical decisions confidently
This is just a sample of the services we offer at no upfront or out-of-pocket cost to you. We only collect payment as a percentage of the compensation we secure for you.
Understanding Laws Against Sexual Abuse in Boston, MA
When trying sexual abuse cases, it's prudent to understand the state laws concerning this crime. In Massachusetts, child rape is defined as sexual intercourse with a child under 16 after coercion or threatening to harm them. A similar definition applies for statutory rape of a minor, though it doesn't have to include the use of force or threats. Sexual abuse of minors is diverse and may take many forms, such as:
- Statutory rape
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual battery
- Unwelcome touching
- Lewd conduct
- Child pornography
- Sexual harassment
These laws can be confusing, but our lawyers are well-versed with these statutes and how they apply even in unique situations. Dolman Law Group is a compassionate firm, and we're ready to help you through this sensitive matter, giving you sound legal advice.
The Scope of Sexual Abuse in the United States
Sexual abuse of children is a significant concern that plagues contemporary society in America. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that 9.2% of mistreated children were also subjected to sexual assault. According to the Child Maltreatment report, about 81.2% of perpetrators were parents, while 6.1% were other relatives.
Further research by the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) deduced that children are most susceptible to sexual abuse in the impressionable years between 7 and 13. One in five girls and one in twenty boys reported sexual abuse during their childhood. The statistics are alarming, and these victims need justice to get closure.
If your child reports sexual abuse, they will need specialized care to heal, beyond what you can provide as a parent, teacher, or guardian. Our attorneys can fight for compensation to cover this care—including medical exams and therapy—when we file your case in Boston.
Effects of Child Sexual Abuse
The harrowing statistics outlined above are just one part of the story; sexual abuse has enduring effects on victims as they develop from childhood to adulthood. For example, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) derives that sexual abuse has psychological, emotional, and physical effects, and victims can suffer from the following:
- Flashbacks, where memories of the unthinkable incident flood the mind in the present
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which usually triggers crippling anxiety
- Eating disorders like anorexia or binge eating
- Inflicting self-harm, like cutting or hair pulling to disrupt emotional numbness
- Disassociation with reality as a coping mechanism
- Alcoholism and substance abuse, like snorting heroin
- Risky sexual attitudes and behaviors
- Panic attacks, even when there's no immediate danger
Our team can present these and other effects as recoverable damages in a civil lawsuit against the abuser.
Sexual Abuse in Younger vs. Older Kids
Notwithstanding the above consequences, note that children of different ages manifest the effects of sexual assault in various ways. For example, younger children mostly think about their safety at present and can exhibit PTSD in the form of aggression or regression. In contrast, older kids experience more substantive fallout owing to their more-developed cognitive abilities.
Sexually abused older children may refrain from stressful situations or suffer from emotional numbness. They could withdraw from social situations or retreat to a cocoon for protection from what they perceive as harmful scenarios or people. As mentioned in the previous section, if these problems are not detected and appropriately addressed, negative actions may ensue.
Criminal vs. Civil Cases for Child Sexual Abuse
In the face of child sexual abuse, monetary reward may understandably be the last thing on your mind. If the abuse occurred recently, the first priority should be to report the incident to law enforcement and ensure the child's safety. The next priority should be to hold the abuser accountable for all the damage caused.
There are two recourses you can pursue—a criminal and a civil case. The former is brought by the state, whereas the latter is up to you to pursue with an attorney of your choosing. Note that the outcome of a criminal case does not have any bearing on your ability to file a civil lawsuit.
Contact Dolman Law Group for Legal Counsel
Dolman Law Group can help you bring a statutory rape charge to the perpetrator so you can finally get justice. These sorts of cases are daunting, so we're ready to provide emotional support to help you navigate the legal process.
Contact us today for a free case review and more information. We don't charge upfront fees or costs to get started on your case.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
76 Canal Street, Suite 302
Boston, MA 02114