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Adult Sexual Abuse Claims

If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, your limited opportunity to take action under the New York Child Victim’s Act is about to expire. The original one-year grace period implemented to give victims time to file claims was set to expire August 2020 was extended to 2021 due to COVID 19. Now, that extension is almost up, and after August 14, 2021, you will forever lose your ability to make a claim. Don’t wait until it is too late to get the answers and justice that you deserve. For these reasons it is vital that you file your claim now or lose your right get justice from those responsible for all time

You’re Not Alone

As a society, only recently have we begun to truly grapple with how common sexual abuse is and how it can impact people for their entire lives. The number of sexual abuse claims nationwide against clergy in the Catholic Church alone rose from 1,451 complaints in 2018 to 4,434 complaints in 2019, according to The Washington Post.

As awareness of sexual abuse and its lifelong damaging effects have spread, more and more adults are coming forward to tell how they were abused, either as children or adults. The New York family law attorneys at The Mandel Law Firm are committed to helping sexual abuse victims of all ages find justice for what’s happened to them. We make no assumptions about what happened to you and we do not judge.  We are here to help you and we fully employ our 40 years of experience with family law issues to do so.  We also know how delicate these kinds of cases can be, they require the utmost in trust and compassion on our part.

When you hire our dedicated and compassionate legal team to represent you, your problems become our problems, so you can let go of some of the stress you’ve been carrying. Get a risk-free, 100 percent confidential consultation today by calling our office or visiting our contact page.

  • Sexual assault/rape
  • Using alcohol or a controlled substance to make someone perform a sexual act
  • Forced exhibitionism or voyeurism
  • Coerced sexual touching, either of the victim or forcing the victim to touch the perpetrator
  • Exposing someone (especially children) to pornography
  • Sexual harassment at work or in other situations where the perpetrator has power over the victim

While we have gotten better at identifying children who are being or have been sexually abused, many victims of abuse hide what happened to them or struggle to acknowledge that what happened was abuse, generally due to a sense of shame, guilt, or confusion. This means many victims don’t fully process their abuse until they’re adults.

Who Commits Sexual Abuse?

Sadly, most victims of sexual abuse are abused by someone they know. Information from RAINN states that of sexual abuse cases reported to law enforcement, 93 percent of juvenile victims know the person who abused them.

The perpetrators of sexual abuse count on the trust between themselves and their victims. That trust makes it easier for them to manipulate their victims for their own gratification and to keep victims from reporting the abuse. Though it’s next to impossible to identify a sexual abuser simply based on their personal characteristics, some people who may commit abuse include:

  • Teachers
  • Coworkers and bosses
  • Prison guards and inmates, if the victim is an adult who’s been incarcerated
  • Friends and acquaintances
  • Religious leaders
  • Leaders of youth organizations or social groups (for example, Scoutmasters for the Boy Scouts of America)
  • Current or former romantic partners (ex-spouse, former boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.)
  • Family members

Your Rights If You’ve Been the Victim of Sexual Abuse

Regardless of whether you were abused as a child or as an adult, you have rights if you’ve been sexually abused. Depending on when the abuse occurred and under what circumstances, you might have a criminal case against your abuser. By reporting what happened to law enforcement, they may file criminal charges against whoever abused you.

Unfortunately, the criminal justice system isn’t always an option for victims of sexual abuse. It may be difficult to find evidence outside of the victim’s testimony to help show that the abuse occurred, especially if the victim doesn’t report the abuse immediately. Furthermore, the statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases means that sometimes, even if there is evidence of abuse, too much time has passed for the perpetrator to be charged with a crime.

In cases where the perpetrator of sexual abuse is not charged with a crime, their victims can still find a measure of justice through the civil court system. A civil suit also allows victims of sexual abuse to hold larger institutions accountable if they aided or covered up the abuse, such as in the case of the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts.

Even if the abuser is charged with a crime, it’s important to hold these institutions accountable for their appalling failure to protect those under their care, and a civil suit may be one of the few remedies available to victims.

How a Family Law Attorney Can Help If You’ve Been Abused

Sexual abuse cases are difficult, time-consuming, and emotionally taxing for everyone involved. To give yourself the best chance of holding your abuser accountable for what they’ve done, you’ll want help from a family law attorney who understands the complexities involved in these cases.

An attorney can help you report what happened to the authorities, gather evidence to support your claim, guide you through the legal process, and help you hold those who abused you or covered up the abuse accountable for their actions.

It’s important to know that New York recently implemented legislation, through the Child Victims Act, which affects victims’ options for pursuing sexual abuse claims. Among these changes are extending the statute of limitations to when victims are 55 years old and creating a “look back” window for victims of abuse to file claims when they might have previously been barred from doing so.

The deadline on this “look back” window was originally supposed to be Aug. 14, 2020, but it’s been extended to Aug. 14, 2021, due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic. If you were previously barred from filing a claim for sexual abuse, you now have an opportunity to hold your abuser accountable.

Contact The Mandel Law Firm Today

We know how difficult it can be to talk about being sexually abused and to revisit those painful memories. But if you’re ready to talk, the team at The Mandel Law Firm is ready to listen. Get a confidential consultation by calling our office in New York at (646) 770-3868, or you can visit our contact page.

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