Yes, if you have been the victim of sexual abuse in many cases you can sue your attacker. Sexual abuse can have lifelong effects on the victim. Often, the victim is a child and the perpetrator is someone in a position of power over the victim. The victim has the right to hold the individuals and the organization involved accountable for the abuse.

Sexual abuse or assault could include rape or attempted rape, but can also include other behaviors, such as touching or kissing, as well as other forced sexual behaviors that occur against the will of the victim, or in which the victim was unable to consent because of age. Unfortunately, sexual abuse is not uncommon in the U.S. Studies show that 33% of all girls and 20% of all boys will become sexual abuse victims by the time they reach adulthood. Moreover, studies show that perpetrators rarely victimize just one person—they typically prey on many victims until they are stopped.

Some of the sad situations in which sexual abuse or assault can occur include schools or daycare centers whose employees prey on children, patients in hospitals or nursing homes who are abused by staff members, and churches whose clergy or staff members commit abuse. In those situations, the hospital, nursing home, school, daycare center or church can be held legally responsible for the abuse, particularly when there is notice that abuse has occurred previously. The organization may have failed to conduct sufficient background checks or maintained unsafe conditions, which resulted in abuse.  In the worst cases, the organizations ratified the conduct by failing to correct the situation after becoming aware of the abuse.

Sexual abuse can have dramatic effects on children and the disabled. Children may undergo permanent behavioral changes because of the abuse, especially if the situation is handled improperly. Victims of sexual abuse are much more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs, to suffer from depression, and to commit suicide than people who haven’t been sexually abused.

Many sexual abuse victims choose not to pursue legal claims against their attackers. However, other victims view a lawsuit as a chance to pursue legal justice against the perpetrator. In some cases, the abuse can be simple to prove, particularly if it occurred recently and if there is evidence, such physical evidence from the victim or the crime scene. In other cases, the abuse may have occurred years ago and the case could be more difficult to prove.

Cases of sexual abuse or assault are very sensitive in nature, and an experienced attorney can help victims and their families protect their legal interests. If you are in the San Francisco area and you have been the victim of sexual abuse of a sexual assault, you should investigate your legal rights against the perpetrator. Most likely, the abuse has caused you months or years of pain, and you have a right to make the individual responsible face both criminal and civil penalties for that behavior.

At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes in speaking up for and protecting the rights of the victims of sexual abuse. If you have been abused, call her at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. She will help you with your case with the sensitivity and compassion you deserve. Call today.

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