People of all ages, backgrounds, and societal levels suffer from the rampant issue of sexual abuse. It can occur in any environment, including the home, workplace, or any other public setting. Sometimes, sexual assault victims are left alone to face the consequences of an attack.
At Adamson Ahdoot, elite lawyers are dedicated to representing victims of these despicable sexual assault crimes and ensuring that justice is served. We understand how debilitating these incidents are and are here to help victims realize their rights and what they can do. We can also help the parents of children who have experienced sexual abuse.
What is Sexual Abuse?
According to the American Psychological Association, sexual abuse is any “unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats, or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.” A surprising fact about sexual abuse is that most victims know their abuser. Children are often unfortunately the victims of these inappropriate actions, leading to a lifetime of struggles stemming from the abuse.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse at any point, please contact the sexual abuse lawyers at Adamson Ahdoot. There are also numerous resources aimed at supporting sexual abuse victims in California and throughout the United States, including:
- Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)
- Sexual abuse and assault hotline: 1-800-656-4673 (available 24 hours every day)
- The National Children’s Advocacy Center
- Additional resources for parents of children who have been sexually abused
- Race Against Abuse of Children Everywhere
How California Defines Sexual Misconduct vs. Sexual Assault
RAINN defines sexual misconduct as a term used outside the legal system. Many individuals use this definition to highlight inappropriate actions. For example, a relationship between two people who work together could be considered “sexual misconduct” even if it is not illegal.
However, sexual assault does represent criminal behavior. Many criminal acts can be referred to as sexual assault. “Sexual assault” can be applied to any act that involves non-consensual sexual activity.
Examples of sexual assault in California include:
- Forced oral copulation
- Sexual battery
- Penetration with an object
The California court system handles all of these charges differently. An Adamson Ahdoot sexual assault attorney in Los Angeles can provide detailed knowledge about various sexual assault charges.
Types of Sexual Assault Laws in California
In California, sexual battery or sexual assault could potentially result in a misdemeanor or felony charge. Examples of misdemeanors include:
- Intentionally fondling a stranger’s breasts without consent
- Groping someone’s buttocks without first obtaining consent
This type of offense that doesn’t involve unlawful restraint is punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000. The fine can increase to $3,000 if the defendant was the victim’s employer.
Examples of felonies include:
- Holding someone down against their will and kissing them and/or unclothing them
- Convincing someone who is mentally ill to masturbate in front of you
- A male doctor falsely tells a female patient that he must feel her breasts for an examination for his own sexual arousal or gratification
This has a range of punishments. The defendant could receive a term of imprisonment in county jail for up to one year and a fine of up to $2,000 if filed as a misdemeanor. However, if filed as a felony, it allows for imprisonment for two, three, or four years as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Criminal vs. Civil Sexual Abuse Cases
Criminal statutes usually indict predators, but victims can also use civil action for harm as another avenue to obtain justice. If the perpetrator was able to access the victim while they were working in an authorized position, such as a school, church, or sports league, it is possible that their employer can be charged with negligence and be held responsible for not adequately protecting the public. It’s important to hold these predators and the organizations they represent accountable for their crimes.
In Which Industries is Sexual Harassment Most Prevalent?
According to the Center for American Progress, these were the 10 industries where sexual harassment was most prevalent:
- Accommodation and food services – 14.23%
- Retail sector – 13.44%
- Manufacturing – 11.72%
- Health care and social assistance – 11.48%
- Administrative and support and waste management and remediation – 6.92%
- Public administration – 6.48%
- Professional, scientific, and technical services – 5.73%
- Transportation and warehousing – 4.94%
- Finance and insurance – 3.98%
- Educational services – 3.98%
Most Workplace Sexual Harassment Is Not Reported, Study Says
The number of workplace harassment reports filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) steadily increased from 6,650 in 2009 to 7,400 in 2012. However, every year since 2012, that number has dropped considerably, with just 5,900 reports in 2016.
According to YouGov, in July 2016, 67% of female employees who reported being victims of workplace harassment did not report their sexual harassment experience to management or file a lawsuit.
According to the EEOC, most abuses, on average, per year (from 2009 until 2016) were race-related, followed by sex, national origin, religion, and color.
- Race-related harassment (about 33%)
- Sex-related harassment (about 27%)
- National origin-related harassment (about 16%-19%)
- Religion-related harassment (about 5%)
- Color-related harassment (about 4%)
These numbers do not include retaliation, retaliation (Title VII), age, disability, Equal Pay Act infractions, or GINA violations (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 – which prohibits genetic information discrimination in employment).
This could mean that victims of sexual violence do not report it as often as they should.
What to Do If You Are a Victim of Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse can have a traumatic effect on a victim’s quality of life and health, causing long-term negative social and psychological effects. Remember, we can help. Adamson Ahdoot works to assist our clients in the healing process. While we work in the courtroom, our clients can focus on their wellness. Additionally, we can help find medical care so that you can find peace of mind. Here are some steps to take when seeking help:
Do Not Remain Silent
By giving voice to the injustice you experienced by retaining Adamson Ahdoot, we can see justice prevail and protect future victims.
The sexual abuse attorneys at Adamson Ahdoot understand the sensitive nature of sexual abuse cases and commit to handling your case or the case of your loved one in a sensitive, discreet, and professional manner. They will work to secure the most favorable compensation for every client and victim. Aggressive, ethical, and honest representation is the reputation we have earned and the standard we strive to uphold.
Other steps to take include:
- Prioritize the safety and well-being of yourself or your loved one through coping mechanisms.
- Reach out to loved ones for support.
- Consider seeking medical attention by going to your local hospital or rape center.
- Help process your experience or that of your loved one in a manner that works for them, such as through therapy, journaling, getting out in nature, or meditating.
- Consider filing a lawsuit.
What is a Statute of Limitation for Sexual Abuse Claims in California?
All states have a statute of limitations (the time limit to file suit) for taking legal action following sexual abuse. There are various factors that will come into play, which is why it’s crucial to discuss your case with a knowledgeable sexual assault lawyer in Los Angeles. In California, the time limit to file a lawsuit for sexual abuse depends on whether the victim is a child or an adult over the age of 18. If the victim is over 18, you must take action within a certain time frame. The statute of limitations (the time limit to file suit) for taking legal action after sexual assault is:
- 10 years from the date of the attempted sexual act or assault by the defendant, or;
- Within three years from the date, the victim discovered an injury or illness related to the sexual assault
These statutes of limitations went into effect on January 1, 2019. Under this updated code of civil procedure, the following statute of limitations for child sexual abuse or assault victims took effect on January 1, 2020:
- Childhood victims of sexual abuse have until their 40th birthday to file suit, or;
- Within five years after the discovery of the abuses
There is a three-year window for the revival of any sexual abuse claims barred by the previous statute of limitations in California.
Sexual Abuse Frequently Asked Questions
The following are frequently asked questions our Los Angeles sexual abuse lawyers field about these types of cases:
What Should I Do if I’ve Been Sexually Abused, or if I Know Someone Who’s Been Abused?
Seek help, and make your voice heard if you experienced sexual abuse or know someone who has. We understand how intimidating it can be to talk about what happened to you, but it’s important to bring your perpetrator to justice. There are numerous resources out there for child victims of sexual abuse, as well as adults. Our sexual abuse litigation law firm can also help you understand your rights and where to go from here.
What Is Consent?
RAINN defines consent as “an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity.” Consent can manifest itself in several different ways, including physical and verbal cues.
What if I Didn’t Fight Back, or It Wasn’t Reported Right Away?
Please read through the California statute of limitations section above. California passed new regulations pertaining to sexual abuse and assault cases that went into effect on January 1, 2019, and January 1, 2020, that govern when to file a lawsuit.
Can Businesses Be Held Responsible for Sexual Assault?
Yes, they can. As mentioned before, depending on the conditions surrounding the case, schools, daycares, youth organizations, and other businesses can be responsible for sexual harassment or assault. In some cases, premises liability can cover assault in Los Angeles.
Child Molestation Sexual Assault Cases
The Department of Justice defines child molestation as “inappropriate physical contact between a child and adult where the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator.”
In addition, child sexual abuse is any form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor, and it does not always involve physical contact.
We must give special care and attention to these allegations, as they are extremely serious. Legal action against the person responsible for sexual misconduct, abuse, or molestation of a child aims to protect the child and seek damages to support their recovery. The goal is always to protect the child.
Examples of child sexual abuse are:
- Exposing oneself to a minor
- Sexual intercourse
- Masturbation in front of a minor
- Forcing a minor to masturbate
- Inappropriate phone calls, text messages, or any other digital interaction
- Any action involving pornographic content of children
- Sex with a minor
- Sex trafficking
How Often Does Child Sexual Abuse Take Place?
Estimates of the real prevalence of child sexual abuse vary widely, from 1% to 35%. Most sexual assault/abuse professionals estimate the figure to be around 8% to 20%.
Up to 500,000 children born in the US this year may suffer sexual abuse before they turn 18, according to some professionals. A 2006 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18. This means there are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the US.
The public is not sufficiently aware of child sexual abuse as a problem because 73% of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least a year. 45% of victims do not tell anyone for at least 5 years, while some never disclose.
Most people think of adult rape as a significant crime, but they may not be aware that children suffer much more than adults. Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children 17 years old and younger. In 2000, the sexual assault victimization rate for youths ages 12 to 17 was 2.3 times higher than for adults, according to the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Children’s Assessment Center (CAC).
Who Is Liable for Child Molestation?
There are many ways to pursue a lawsuit against a sexual abuse crime, and there are many factors to consider when determining liability. In addition to the child molester, establishments may also be liable for responsible for sexual abuse. Some organizations to sue for child molestation are:
- Youth organizations
- Other businesses
These establishments must defend and protect children. In addition, they may be liable for malfeasance when they fail to fulfill the duty of care or are negligent, and it results in the attack of a minor.
Child Sexual Abuse Statistics
These are very serious allegations and are far too common as recent statistics indicate:
- There were almost 63,000 reported incidents of child sexual abuse nationwide (2012)
- Nearly 1 out of 10 incidents of abuse against children are sexual abuse
- Every 8 minutes, Child Protective Services substantiates or finds evidence of child sexual abuse
- 93 % of victims know their perpetrators (only 7% were strangers)
(Statistics from the National Sex Offender Public Website, NSOPW, and RAINN)
Where Is Child Sexual Abuse Most Likely to Occur?
RAINN reports that an act of sexual abuse occurs every nine minutes in the United States. Of the victims, 34% are under the age of 12 while 66% are between the ages of 12 and 17. The most common occurrence of sexual abuse happens in a school or daycare setting.
How Can a California Child Molestation Attorney Help?
Many of these cases go unreported because some of the victims are young. Unfortunately, often times the perpetrators are someone close to the child or family. RAINN reports that up to 93% of all victims under 18 know their abuser. A sexual abuse attorney at Adamson Ahdoot can help you understand your rights and take action against the perpetrator.
We Can help!
If you or someone you care about has experienced injuries at the hands of another individual, we can help. When an event as traumatic and frustrating as sexual abuse happens, seeking out an attorney experienced in taking on individuals and large corporations is the best solution.
The attorneys at Adamson Ahdoot have over 100 years of combined legal experience and are, first and foremost, people. Our professionals will listen to you and guide you to the financial and mental relief you seek.
We work tirelessly to help our clients get the funds they need to move forward with their lives. If you have suffered any kind of abuse, please contact us. The first appointment is completely free of charge and there is no obligation. Likewise, we can provide justice for those who have been harmed by someone who should be trusted. For more information about filing a personal injury lawsuit, send us a message through our free consultation request form or call (800) 310-1606.