Sexual abuse is highly disturbing, frightening, traumatic and damaging. Children and teenagers of all races, ages, ethnicities and backgrounds are vulnerable to sexual abuse. According to Child Protective Services, approximately 63,000 children a year in the USA are victims of sexual abuse. Among adults who are developmentally disabled, as many as 83% of females and 32% of males are victims of sexual assault. Annually, between 15,000 to 19,000 developmentally disabled people are raped in the United States. Contacting a sexual abuse attorney about your case is an important step in obtaining justice.
Sexual abuse is a widespread problem, and the trauma of abuse on a child or adult can be long-lasting, impacting the victim’s mental health for the rest of their life. According to RAINN, sexual abuse victims are more likely to experience the following mental health challenges (than non-victims):
- About 4 times more likely to develop symptoms of drug abuse
- About 4 times more likely to experience PTSD as adults
- About 3 times more likely to experience a major depressive episode as adults.
Another staggering statistic: Out of every 1,000 sexual assaults, only 310 are reported to the police. This means that most people who commit sexual assault and abuse are not even confronted in the criminal system. For those that face charges, many have charges dismissed, reduced, or are acquitted in trial. In South Carolina, more than half of accused child sex predators have charges reduced or dismissed. From 2013 to 2019 in South Carolina, out 9,583 cases:
- 6,032 charges (63 percent) were dismissed
- 3,104 charges ended with a criminal sentence
- 2,897 charges were disposed through a guilty plea
- Only 413 cases went to trial – 35 percent ended with an acquittal.
Sexual Abuse by Teachers and Professionals
Sexual abuse is usually involves someone that the victim knows, and often someone that they are conditioned to trust. When people in positions of leadership, trust, and power abuse people, it raises many questions and creates fears. Consider some sexual abuse cases that have made headlines in recent years:
- South Carolina Doctor Arrested on Charges He Abused Patient
- Washington DC dentist sentenced to 16 ½ years for assaulting patients under sedation.
- Canadian doctor sentenced to 10 years in prison for sedating 21 women during surgery
- Miramonte Teacher Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Sexual Misconduct
- Idaho teacher, coach sentenced to 15 years in prison for repeated sexual abuse of student
We believe everyone should be able to go to the doctor or go to school without being assaulted or abused.
Where Does Sexual Abuse Occur in Charleston?
Sexual abuse can occur almost anywhere, and not necessarily in a “scary” place. Sexual abuse can occur in places where people are comfortable, and be caused by people who know the victim. Some places sexual abuse has been reported:
Less than 15% of sexual assaults are committed by a stranger. More often, assaults and abuse is brought on by a former intimate partner, family member, trusted family friend, or an acquaintance.
Placement of children may be arranged through social service agencies, which is responsible for screening families and inspecting homes.
Nursing Homes and Hospitals:
Elderly victims of sexual abuse may be assaulted or raped in living or healthcare environments.
Residential Facilities for Disabled People:
Although residential care facilities have the responsibility to protect disabled people, abuse may occur without proper staff hiring and supervision.
There have been cases of vulnerable patients being forced to have sex during medical or psychological treatment.
Teachers and coaches may abuse their authority by taking advantage of vulnerable students, or forming inappropriate relationships.
Sexual abuse, assault, and harassment are widespread problems in the workplace.
Civil Liability and Institutional Sexual Abuse
Many acts of sexual abuse are occur when institutions (schools, medical centers, churches, scout organizations, etc) hire dangerous predators. Examples of institutional sexual abuse cases include:
- Catholic church sex abuse cases
- Boy Scouts of America sex abuse cases
- Gymnastics sexual abuse cases
- Penn State University sexual abuse cases
- School teachers who abuse students
The scope of the law allows institutions, including school districts, to be liable for negligent hiring, negligent supervision, and failing to protect children and others. An employer may not be liable simply because they employed an abuser; you must establish that the employer knew or reasonably should have known that the perpetrator had the propensity to abuse children.
Reporting Sexual Abuse
Any sexual abuse of children should be reported – it is a crime. If your child tells you they’ve been abused, you should listen very carefully and stay calm. Never, under any circumstances, blame the child. To report child abuse in a foster home, group home or child care facility in Charleston, call the24-Hour Children’s Hotline at 1-800-645-9789. To report abuse of children within the Community, call (803) 898-7318 x2. If you are an adult have experienced abuse, the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline is 1-800-656-4673.
Get a Free Consultation for Your Case From a Sexual Abuse Attorney
Charleston sexual abuse attorney Mark Bringardner understands sexual abuse is extremely traumatic, and even discussing a potential case may be difficult. He is compassionate towards his clients and dedicated to helping them hold negligent parties accountable to the fullest extent. Contact us today for a free and confidential conversation about your case. If we represent you, we will not charge any fees unless we recover money for you.