Pittsburgh Child Sex Abuse Attorneys
Child sexual abuse is a devastating crime. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website, more than 60,000 cases of sexual abuse involving minor children are reported to law enforcement each year. Not only is that 60,000 cases too many, but experts estimate that the actual number of child sexual assaults is likely much higher, as many victims may be too young, frightened, confused, or ashamed to report their abuse. They may also be threatened by their abusers not to tell parents, guardians, teachers, physicians, or other authority figures.
If your child was a victim of sexual abuse, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party. Before you decide whether taking legal action is right for you, your child, and your situation, here’s what you should know.
Signs of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Sadly, in the United States, authorities respond to a new report of child sexual abuse every eight minutes, according to statistics from the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN). Though this abuse is unquestionably prevalent, if a child is too young or too scared to talk about it, it can be difficult to spot—in part because perpetrators take great pains to hide their actions to avoid accountability.
Still, there are physical, behavioral, and emotional signs that parents can watch for that may indicate a young child is being sexually abused. These warnings may include:
- A sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosed in a child far too young to engage in sexual activity.
- Unexplained bruising, bleeding, or other genital trauma.
- Age-inappropriate sexual behaviors.
- Regressing to wetting or soiling the bed after being toilet-trained.
- Fear of being separated from parents or other primary caregivers, and a reluctance to be left alone with certain people.
- Refuses to remove clothes, even when changing or bathing.
- Displays of age-inappropriate sexual knowledge.
- Returns to behaviors previously outgrown, such as sucking a thumb or biting nails.
- Nightmares or fear of being alone.
- Excessive worry, fear, and anxiety.
Where Can Child Sexual Abuse Happen and Who Are Common Perpetrators?
Child sexual abuse can happen anywhere and often happens in “kid-centric” places where parents may falsely assume their children are safe, such as at school or church, or while involved in sports, music, dance, or another extracurricular activity.
Additionally, most child molesters aren’t random strangers lurking in alleys: they’re people you know and likely trust who are in a position of power or perceived power, like:
- Family members and close family friends
- Teachers, principals, coaches, and other school faculty members or administrators
- Doctors, dentists, chiropractors, or massage therapists
- Extracurricular sports trainers and coaches
- Sunday school teachers, pastors, youth pastors, priests, or other clergy members
Long-Term Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse
The effects of childhood sexual abuse can last a lifetime and are often correlated with higher levels of:
- Eating disorders
- Somatic concerns
- Dissociative patterns
- Sexual problems
- Relationship issues
- Negative thinking
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Suicidal ideation
Was Your Child Abused by a Sexual Predator? We Can Help
There’s nothing more heart-wrenching than finding out that someone has sexually abused your precious child. While the road to recovery for both you and your child is long, there’s hope. Counseling and therapy can help ease some of the negative effects associated with childhood sexual abuse. However, the costs for long-term treatment can quickly become unmanageable.
That’s where we come in. Our experienced attorneys can help child sex abuse victims and their parents seek compensation from the abuser, which can then be used to fund the treatments your child may need to heal. Do you have questions about a child sex abuse case? Contact the Accident and Injury Law Group today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.