CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE – SOME STARTLING STATS
In a recent study of families involved in child sexual abuse investigations, a primary complaint by parents was that not enough was being done to prosecute the offenders. That’s certainly not because of a lack of interest or effort. Everybody – from district attorneys to legislators, from parents to police – is on the same page, wanting to improve children’s safety by increasing convictions of sexual abuse offenders. Every successful conviction helps accomplish four things:
- provide victims with a sense of empowerment and safety
- move offenders off the streets
- hold criminals accountable
- encourage victims and their families to cooperate with prosecutors
At the Ramey & Hailey law firm, where we do our part every day to help victims of sexual assault and abuse, we know how very, very hard it is – for both a child victim and for family members to relive the experience by talking about it with law enforcement and even with us. Yet talking about the crime is the only way to identify and convict offenders, prevent future criminal activity, and help victims move towards healing.
According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, “Child sexual abuse is a type of maltreatment, violation, and exploitation that refers to the involvement of the child in sexual activity to provide sexual gratification or financial benefit to the perpetrator.” That abuse can take many different forms, including:
- contact for sexual purposes
- statutory rape
In one or another of these ways, the American SPCC tells us, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn eighteen years old!
By far the most common effect of sexual abuse is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Dr. Susanne Babbel writes in Psychology Today. When not properly treated, this can result in a lifetime of PTSD, depression and anxiety. The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress add that substance abuse and “suicidality” often result from sexual abuse. The need for ongoing therapy can impose huge financial burdens on the family (as well as on abused children after they are grown).
For these reasons, our attorneys at Ramey & Hailey fight hard to win civil remedies for our clients along with the legal remedies. We fight not only for the conviction of offenders, but for financial compensation for victims. Money should not be allowed to pose a barrier between a victim and the best therapeutic options. Child abuse victims must be given every chance to get their lives back on track.