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Virginia Child Sex Abuse Victim’s Lawyer

Sexual assault and abuse is devastating to the victim, but cases involving children can be especially damaging for the victims and their loved ones due to the horrifying nature of the crime, and the memories that can plague victims for the rest of their lives.  No parent can ever imagine dealing with the aftermath of an attack on their child, and none want to believe that sexual abuse could ever occur. Sexual abuse of children is, however, a very tragic reality for numerous families in Virginia.  If your child has been sexually abused, our firm is experienced in pursuing claims against those responsible for sex abuse suffered by children in Virginia, and is prepared to fight to protect you and your family.

Children are especially vulnerable to incidents of sexual abuse because they often do not know how to fight back. Trust is also a major factor in many child sexual abuse cases. In 2012, there were 883 reports of cases of sexual abuse against children in the Commonwealth of Virginia, according the U.S. department of Health & Human Services (pdf report here).  According to some reports, nearly 65 percent of all sexual assault cases in this country happen to victims under the age of 16 years old, with 14 percent perpetuated against children five and younger.  Strangers are responsible for very few child sexual assaults, and most child sexual assaults are perpetrated by relatives or acquaintances of the child and their family. For more information, you can view a pdf copy of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics report here.

Who is Responsible in Child Sexual Abuse Cases?

Determining the legally responsible parties in a sexual abuse case often is not as simple as finding the abuser.  There may have been other factors that led to the abuse or allowed the abuse to occur, meaning that there could be other responsible parties.  These might include:

  • The Abuser’s Employer – if the abuser gained access to a child victim through his or her job, there are some instances in which the abuser’s employer could be held legally responsible.  This is especially the case where the employer failed to conduct proper background checks on the abuser before putting them in contact with children or retained an employee after failing to recognize warning signs that the abuser could be victimizing children in his or her care.  Employers that may be liable can include schools, juvenile detention facilities, day care centers, youth-serving organizations, and churches.
  • City or State Agencies – In some instances, city or state agencies may be legally responsible for the abuse of a child. This can come into play when the abuser was an employee of the city or state, as is the case in many cases involving school district or juvenile detention center employees, or when a child is negligently placed in an abusive foster home.
  • Volunteer Organizations – There are recent cases of volunteers abusing children with whom they have come in contact as a result of serving as a counselor, chaperone, or coach in activities such as scouting, sports, or religious organizations or programs.  For example, the Boy Scouts of America has been embroiled in scandal and litigation stemming from scout leaders who were suspected or reported for the abuse of children and somehow were allowed to volunteer for, or return to, the organization.

What Damages Can a Sexual Abuse Victim Recover?


Every case is unique, and no outcome can be guaranteed.  However, there are some damages that are common in nearly all personal injury lawsuits in Virginia, particularly when it comes to the sexual abuse of children.  Only an attorney can advise you on the specifics of your case and claim, but some examples of commonly sought damages include:

  1. Medical Bills – This covers both past, present, and future medical bills for both physical and mental injury. This can include bills for medical and psychological treatment, including trauma counseling. Claims for medical bills incurred by a parent in curing or attempting to cure their child from personal injuries sustained by a sexual assault may be governed by a separate statute of limitations than the child’s underlying claim, depending on when the cause of action accrues.
  2. Pain and Suffering – These damages are meant to compensate the victim for the physical and emotional or mental pain that a child suffers as a result of the abuse.
  3. Punitive Damages – These damages can provide additional punishment for the abuser and/or those who allowed the abuse to occur where a defendant acted with “actual malice” or acted with such recklessness as to show a willful and wanton disregard of the plaintiff’s rights.

What Should I Do if My Child was Abused?

If your child has suffered sexual abuse, or any type of abuse, at the hands of another, we would like to express our heartfelt sympathy and concern. No child should suffer in this way and we understand the turmoil and trauma that sexual abuse inflicts on the victim and those around them. Cases of abuse should be reported to the local authorities for criminal investigation, but the criminal justice system is not your only option for protecting your child from future harm and providing your child with the support that he or she will need in the future. Civil justice is extremely effective and important for addressing child sexual abuse, for working to fix the broken systems and/or policies that allowed the abuse to occur in the first place, and for holding those responsible accountable for their negligence.

Call a Virginia Child Abuse Lawyer Today

It is very important that you contact an attorney who is experienced in litigating claims based on sexual abuse as soon as possible as there may be limits to the amount of time you have to file a claim on behalf of your child. Please rest assured that when you hire an attorney they will work aggressively to identify all of the responsible parties and will work tirelessly to secure the justice that your child and your family deserves.