Sexual abuse, molestation, and misconduct is unfortunately common. At Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., our attorneys understand both the severe impact of this trauma on a victim, as well as the laws which govern civil lawsuits taken against a perpetrator. Therefore, if you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse as a minor, contacting a Michigan child sexual abuse lawyer might be helpful. A legal professional who understands the sensitive nature of a case, how trying a lawsuit can be, and the importance of maintaining client confidentiality could help to mitigate the stresses and challenges of pursuing a civil lawsuit during this difficult time.
Statistics for Sexual Misconduct with Minors
The extent and prevalence of child sexual abuse can be difficult to accurately determine because it often goes unreported. Furthermore, abuse is also not uniformly defined, which means statistics may vary depending upon who conducts the study. With this in mind, the following statistics represent some of the research conducted on the abuse of minors:
- 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of sexual abuse or misconduct
- 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood abuse incident that was sexual in nature
- Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of American youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized
- 3 out of 4 adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well
- Children who experienced rape or attempted rape in their adolescent years were 13.7 times more likely to experience rape or attempted rape in their first year of college
Signs of Abuse
In some cases, instances of abuse and mistreatment remain unreported because children have a difficult time communicating their experience to adults who can help them. Some children will not tell a parent or adult because they feel shame, guilt, or embarrassment. In some cases, children may be confronted with threats from the abuser. There are certain signs of sex abuse that may indicate a child has been through a traumatic experience like abuse. These include:
- Changes in behavior, such as extreme mood swings, withdrawal, fearfulness, or excessive crying
- Bed-wetting, nightmares, fear of going to bed, or other sleep disturbances
- Acting out inappropriate sexual activity or showing an unusual interest in sexual matters
- A sudden acting out of aggressive or rebellious behavior
- Regression to infantile behavior, like clinging to a parent
- Behavioral problems in school
- Changes in toilet-training habits
- A fear of certain places, people, or activities
- Multiple or poorly explained injuries, like bruises, rashes, cuts, or limping
- Pain, itching, bleeding, fluid, or rawness in the private areas
It is essential that parents and loved ones be attentive and spot these or other troubling signs. Furthermore, a seasoned Michigan child sexual abuse lawyer who is familiar with the circumstances surrounding these incidents might be helpful as parents determine if their child was the subject of mistreatment.
Pursuing Lawsuits For Children
The damages and injuries caused by abuse are often far-reaching and might even last a lifetime. These can include physical injuries, as well as severe psychological damage, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and mental anguish. The lingering effects of abuse can hurt a victim’s self-esteem, their ability to form relationships, and their ability to obtain or maintain gainful employment.
However, victims of sexual abuse as minors have legal rights to take action against their abusers, as well as against those who negligently permitted the abuse to occur. Through a claim, requests might be made for recovery of the numerous damages a claimant has suffered, including emotional trauma, medical bills, and other financial burdens brought on by abuse.
However, calculating the extent of a person’s losses is often confusing, especially when the estimation of non-economic damages can be subjective and nuanced. Fortunately, a detail-oriented Michigan lawyer who has experience handling child sexual abuse claims could help to fully assess and present a claimant’s losses.
Filing a Timely Claim
Anyone looking to pursue a claim on the basis of child sexual abuse either for an underage loved one or for an incident involving their own past should be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a claim in Michigan. Essentially, anyone who was the victim of sexual misconduct, molestation, or other sexually-based abuse while they were under the age of 18 can pursue a claim on for before their 28th birthday.
Due to the importance of this deadline, hiring an experienced lawyer for help might be beneficial. While exceptions might exist, filing a timely claim that satisfies the statute of limitations provide a claimant with the opportunity to have their case heard in court.
Seeking Legal Counsel from a Michigan Child Sexual Abuse Attorney
If your child has suffered sexual abuse, you are likely to be overwhelmed and have numerous unanswered questions regarding how to proceed with helping your loved one. A Michigan child sexual abuse lawyer could help.
Navigating the claims process alone is often difficult, especially if the intersection between a criminal procedure and a civil claim can be confusing. A well-versed attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. who is familiar with the state-specific laws and statute of limitations could work to pursue a civil claim on your behalf and allow you to spend time with your loved one. To learn more, schedule a consultation with a legal professional today.
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