Unfortunately, sexual abuse is a common crime since it may occur in many forms and among kids of different ages. Not all victims report the matter due to threats and fear of shame. Others may also not understand that specific actions count as abuse. If your child is a victim of sexual abuse, you could file a lawsuit against the liable party.
This step can help you get compensation for medical costs and trauma counseling. Our St. Petersburg child sexual abuse lawyers can collect evidence for the case.
What Is Child Sexual Abuse?
Children cannot legally consent to sexual activities since they might not fully understand them. They may also lack insights into the effects of such actions on their body or mental health. Due to these aspects, any sexual act involving a minor is sexual abuse.
While consent refers to agreeing to something voluntarily, this concept is more profound in legal terms. According to Florida sex crime laws, any person under 18 years cannot agree to sex under any circumstance. The only exemption is under Florida Statutes § 794.05, when a teenager of 16 or 17 years engages in sexual activity with a partner below 23 years.
Forms of Sexual Abuse in St. Petersburg
Child sexual abuse exists in many forms, which may be easily noticeable or not. Such a crime may occur when an abuser exposes their body to a minor. It may also happen when they send sexual text messages or use certain words in an online interaction or phone call.
Another prevalent form of sexual abuse is fondling a child's body. This aspect refers to when an abuser touches a child for sexual gain or arousal. RAINN states that more actions that may constitute sexual abuse are:
- Penetrative sex with a minor
- Owning, creating, or sharing pornographic images and videos of children
Sex trafficking is a prevalent form of child abuse in St. Petersburg. It mainly involves using force, fraud, or coercion to force a child into acts like prostitution or sexual performance in nightclubs and casinos.
Parties Often At-Fault for Child Sexual Abuse
The parties responsible for child sexual abuse often differ based on the form of the crime and the place it occurs. Guardians and parents may be responsible if they engage their own children in sexual activities. They can also be accountable if they were aware of the abuse and did not report the case to the police.
Organizers of school and recreational programs are responsible for children's safety when away from home. Hence, if sexual abuse occurs during a field trip or tour, you may file a lawsuit against the program.
School teachers are another party often accountable for child sexual abuse. You may hold a teacher responsible if they forced or influenced your kid into sexual activities. It is also possible to sue a party for facilitating or ignoring the crime. Other parties you could hold liable for sexual abuse in St. Petersburg are:
- Sports organizations
- Churches and the clergy
- Youth groups
- Healthcare providers
Establishing Fault for St. Petersburg Child Sexual Abuse
Before you take legal actions for St. Petersburg child sexual abuse, you must identify the abuser and other liable parties. Your lawyer will study your case and use evidence to prove another party was responsible for the incident.
For example, your attorney can analyze the police report you filed for more details on the matter. They can also study medical records for more insights into the treatment your child received after the ordeal.
Another method a St. Petersburg child sexual abuse lawyer may use to establish negligence is interviewing witnesses. These are often other parties that suspected the crime or were present. Witnesses to a child sexual abuse case can be guardians or school teachers. They might also be other kids who are also victims of the abusers' actions.
Evidence You Could Use in St. Petersburg Child Sexual Abuse Cases
When filing a child sexual abuse lawsuit in St. Petersburg, you need evidence linking another party to the crime. Your personal injury lawyer will help you identify the proof relevant to the case and use it to support your claim.
Your St. Petersburg lawyer may use medical records as evidence of the other party's negligence. This may indicate the injuries the victim sustained from the abuse. It may also mention the effects of the incident on their mental health.
If an abuser took pornographic media of a minor, your attorney might use these images or videos as evidence. Such media may help prove specific injuries resulting from the incident. They can also show that the abuser forced or coerced the child into sexual acts. More evidence a St. Petersburg lawyer may use for a child sexual abuse case are:
- Police reports
- Video surveillance footage
- Audio recording of the abuser confessing to the crime
- A statement by the abused child
Effects of Child Sexual Abuse That Could Entitle the Victim to Damages
Children may not always disclose they are victims of sexual abuse, especially if they are young or received threats from the abuser. Looking out for various signs of this issue may help you stop it and hold the perpetrator accountable.
Kids First of Florida states that common indicators of child sexual abuse are:
- Sudden behavioral changes like aggression or bedwetting
- Physical signs of injuries like bleeding or bruises
- Inappropriate sexual behavior, such as using vulgar words
- Poor school performance
Another prevalent sign of sexual abuse in children is fear around adults. The child could also give excuses to avoid activities or places associated with their abuser. For example, they may fake an injury to evade sporting activities if their coach abused them. The child may also rapidly lose interest in things they loved before.
Contact a St. Petersburg Child Sexual Abuse Law Firm
A St. Petersburg lawyer can help you identify all damages resulting from child sexual abuse. They will also work with healthcare professionals to assess the extent of injuries and seek compensation. At Dolman Law Group, we understand the sensitivity of child sexual abuse cases.
Our attorneys will take all precautions to safeguard your child's mental health during the trial. We can provide legal counsel on all matters related to the case. Call Dolman Law Group now to speak to our staff handling Florida sex abuse cases.
St Petersburg Office
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
Phone: (727) 472-3909