Child Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is devastating to its victims, whether it occurs at the hands of a family member, mentor, teacher, caregiver or stranger. The mental and emotional scars left in the wake of sexual abuse can last a lifetime. The Pisanchyn Law Firm’s childhood sexual abuse attorneys help victims of sexual abuse and assault, and understand how important it is for victims to get justice. Sexual abusers must be held accountable; likewise, people in a position of authority, who fail to protect those in their care, must be held responsible for what happens on their watch.
What is Child Sexual Abuse?
While the legal definition varies by state and type, it is generally understood that sexual abuse involves unwanted sexual contact. It not only covers fondling and touching of a sexual nature, but:
- Showing children explicit images, exposing children to sexually charged language and to pornography
- Taking inappropriate photos of a child for personal use or distribution
- Requesting the minor send or take pictures of themselves in an inappropriate manner
- Revealing oneself to a child
- Oral sex
Cases of abuse typically involve an inappropriate use of power, and a number of factors can contribute:
Authority: Individuals holding a position of inherent authority sexually abuse others by taking advantage of the authoritative dynamic. An example of this would be a teacher becoming sexually involved with a student. The student may feel obligated to take part in the abuse simply because the teacher holds a role of power.
Age: Acts that involve an adult and a minor are despicable acts; children are victimized simply because they are too young to protect themselves from the assault. Research has found that those who suffer sex abuse as a child are more likely to develop depression, anxiety, addictions and personality disorders.
Physical size: A larger physical presence can be exerted as a form of influence. Smaller individuals may shy away from stopping sexual abuse out of fear of a physical confrontation.
Coercion: Children and mentally handicapped individuals can be especially vulnerable to sexual assault. Perpetrators often concoct stories to explain their behavior and discourage reporting.
Effects of Sexual Abuse on Children
Damage done by sexual abuse is not just physical; oftentimes, the mental and emotional impact of sexual abuse continues for many years or even a lifetime. Those who have been abused might develop unhealthy ideas about sexual relationships that can cause destructive behaviors and emotional distress.
Signs that a child has been sexually abused may include:
- Abrupt changes in behavior, sometimes affecting quality of schoolwork.
- Depression and low self-esteem. A low sense of self-worth.
- Sexually acting out for their age. Promiscuous behavior, unnatural interest in subjects of a sexual nature.
When children show symptoms of sexual abuse, professionals have a duty to report those behaviors and protect the child. Health professionals, police, teachers, school employees and others have an obligation to assure the mental and physical safety of the children they watch over. Unfortunately, our lawyers have seen many cases of institutional disregard for the safety of children or others who are in their care.
Sexual Assault of a Child
Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Any act of molestation or unwanted sexual advances may be considered sexual assault, which may include attempted rape, forcible sodomy, forced sexual intercourse, child molestation, incest, or fondling.
Those who have suffered from sexual assault are oftentimes fearful of reporting the incident for a number of reasons:
- Fearing their accusations will not be taken seriously
- Discomfort with the entire situation
- Embarrassment about the event
- Denial about the severity of what took place
- Fear of retaliation
Survivors of sexual assault have the right to come forward with information about the incident and take legal action against their attacker. Our lawyers are prepared to treat you with the utmost respect and dignity while we build your case, always acting in your best interest.
Our Child Sexual Abuse Victim Attorneys Can Help
Child sexual abuse needs to be stopped. Unfortunately the process of doing so is intimidating for a child. We are aware of the risks, harm, and embarrassment that can come from filing suit against your perpetrator, but the attorneys for survivors of rape, sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation at The Pisanchyn Law Firm urge you, if you are or a loved one is the victim of child sexual abuse, to contact one of our child sexual abuse attorneys, in Pennsylvania, as soon as possible. By contacting an attorney you will bring your perpetrator to justice, protecting yourself and possibly others, which will put an end to the abuse. Due to our attorney’s experience in both criminal law and civil suits we can help you with the criminal prosecution of the perpetrator, if you so choose, as well as the civil prospect of your case so you can be fully compensated for the suffering that you have endured as a result of the abuse.
The Pisanchyn Law Firm represents child abuse of all ages and all throughout Pennsylvania. We also pledge that we will do our very best to keep all matters private and confidential. We know that you have been through more than enough, there’s no need to share the details of this trying time with the media or anyone else. There are certain petitions that we can file to keep the identity of the abuse victim confidential and we will fight aggressively to see that this is done and that you can stop living in fear and start the healing process. If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to speak to an attorney in full and complete confidentiality about child sexual abuse and a possible case please do not hesitate email us.
Call 1-800-444-5309 for a free consultation. We have offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton and will travel to you.
If you know of someone suffering abuse please call the Child Line and Abuse Registry at 800-932-0313.