A Chicago sexual abuse lawyer can provide victims of sexual abuse with all the necessary resources to guide them through the recovery process, including seeking compensation.
Sexual abuse is an ugly reality that too often goes undisclosed, where assault victims suffer in silence because they are embarrassed, ashamed, and fearful of what will happen if they speak up and file a sexual abuse report.
Are You Or A Loved One A Victim of Sexual Assault or Abuse?
Are you or a loved one a sexual abuse victim? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, are legal advocates for the sexually assaulted. Our attorneys fight aggressively to hold those responsible financially accountable.
We are fully committed to helping you recover from these traumatic events with compensation that can improve your financial outlook, though the emotional and physical wounds may never recover.
Call a Chicago sexual abuse attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
The Chicago Police Department statistics show that there were 2,065 reports of assault in Chicago in 2021.
The department saw an increase in the various forms of assault recently. Sexual assault cases have increased in all parts of the city. Since sexual violence is rising, everyone must be vigilant, especially children and women.
What Is Sexual Abuse?
Any abuse committed against others that involves violent actions and misconduct, including rape, child molestation, assault, and non-physical sexual acts like sexual harassment. Sexual molestation can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, or background.
Any unwanted sexual contact also constitutes sexually abusive behavior for which the predator should be held accountable. Accountability can be administered in criminal proceedings, civil lawsuits, or both.
Besides mental anguish, depression, and physical injuries, the horrible experience often leads to other problems, such as pain and suffering, missed work, therapy bills, medical costs, etc.
What Are the Main Signs of Sexual Abuse?
Sexual assault often leaves behind physical and emotional scars on many victims. Sexual abuse survivors can find it challenging to understand what happened or speak about what occurred. Some indicators that victims are harmed by sexual abuse involving children and adults include:
- Emotional damage
- Detachment from family and friends
Sex abuse survivors, especially minors, are often scared to tell anyone about the sex abuse for fear of retaliation. Unfortunately, many sexual predators are people the injured party knows and trusts, such as family members, neighbors, or other victims of sexual abuse.
Where Does This Kind of Abuse Take Place?
Sexual abuse can happen everywhere. Unfortunately, many sex abuse victims live with their abusers, making spotting the signs of sexual abuse difficult.
Other times, the abuser may be someone outside the family, such as a coach, teacher, babysitter, or neighbor. Some places where sexual violence or unwanted touches involving staff members, visitors, other students/residents, and employees occur include:
- Mental health facilities
- Daycare centers
- Nursing homes
- Foster home
- Tutoring facility
- Encounters with police
- After-school program
- Religious institutions
- Medical facilities
- At home
The Difference Between Criminal and Civil Court
In many sexual abuse cases, victims will be pursuing lawsuits in a civil proceeding during a trial of the perpetrator. Some victims may even decide against filing a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse because they see that a criminal procedure is ongoing.
But there is a big difference between criminal and civil proceedings. Criminal courtrooms are designed to hold an individual accountable for crimes committed by the justice system, handing out a punishment to prevent the crimes, such as sexual abuse, from happening again.
A civil proceeding, on the other hand, allows people to sue for damages and recover compensation. Both criminal and civil proceedings against the same perpetrator can occur at the same time.
While a conviction may force the abuser to pay fines to the victims, they may not be enough to compensate for the damages suffered.
These losses can include non-economic damages and economic damages, such as medical expenses from the sex abuse, ongoing emotional difficulties, post-traumatic stress disorder, therapy expenses, and other forms of pain.
Additionally, if the perpetrator is found guilty of crimes by the justice system, then this can strengthen the claim of the victim who suffered from sexual abuse, serving as more evidence of the abuser’s actions and the effects on the victim.
Will You Face the Abuser in Court?
This is a question that causes a lot of concern for those who have experienced sexual violence, especially if there is no criminal proceeding against their abuser. Sexual abuse lawsuits do not always result in court proceedings. In fact, most are settled outside of court, allowing the victim to avoid facing the abuser in a proceeding.
However, if the abuser is not willing to negotiate fairly with the victim’s sexual abuse attorney, then the case could advance to court. In this scenario, it might be necessary for the victim to confront their abuser to tell their story in the courtroom. It is worth mentioning that, although this prospect can be terrifying to victims, many end up feeling empowered at the end of the day because of the ability to confront their abuser and share how they were hurt by them.
Statute of Limitations
Most civil lawsuits and criminal actions have a statute of limitations. If a charge is not brought against the perpetrator, or a lawsuit is not filed, within the statute of limitations, then that action cannot be pursued once the time limit is up.
Fortunately, the state of Illinois has signed into law that there is no statute of limitations for cases of sexual abuse. This is true for both criminal proceedings and civil lawsuits.
What that means is that victims can choose to come forward whenever they are emotionally and psychologically ready. This legislation was a huge step forward on behalf of those who have suffered from sexual abuse. It is especially beneficial for sexual abuse cases involving minors, where the victims could not articulate or understand the effects of what happened to them for years.
If you or someone you care about is a sexual abuse victim but has not made the decision to pursue a lawsuit, there is still time to consider taking this step with a sexual abuse lawyer on your side.
Types of Sexual Abuse Cases
Sex abuse or unwanted sexual touching might involve:
Inappropriate sexual behavior occurs without consent when the victim suffers sexual assault by someone they spend time with, like on a date, at an event, or at home.
While a stranger raping someone is one of the most feared types of sex abuse, it is less common than rapes or assaults involving a family member, friend, or partner
Unwanted Sexual Touching
Minors and young adults are prime targets of the various forms of sexual molestation. Family members, teachers, babysitters, and others can inappropriately touch the child without notice from others.
Abuse by Authority Figures
Our Chicago sexual abuse team has handled cases where innocent adults and minors are raped, sodomized, or made to perform sexual acts by authority figures. Victims of sexual abuse could be molested and experience emotional damage by:
- Religious leaders
- Teachers and coaches
- Employers, managers, and supervisors
- Family members
- Police officers
- School camp counselors
- Other individuals charged to protect the assaulted
The Aftereffects of Abuse on Victims
Sexual abuse sufferers experience embarrassment, shame, fear, and other emotions, which are all normal reactions a child feels to an abnormal situation.
Loved ones need to be patient and offer support without judgment. Victims of sexual abuse may experience the aftereffects of a predator’s indecent exposure or inappropriate physical contact, including:
- Radical Changes in Personality: When experiencing sex abuse, a person may act in ways that are out of character. For example, a usually outgoing person may become withdrawn and shy. A victim may also become more aggressive.
- Changes in Sexual Attitude or Behavior: Some victims facing sexual abuse become promiscuous, while others become celibate. Some will engage in risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex or indecent exposure in front of others.
- Poorer Performance in School: Sexually assaulted young students may have trouble concentrating, leading to poor grades.
- Participating in Substance Abuse and Harming Oneself
Common Defendants in Illinois Abuse Cases
Most childhood sexual abuse lawsuits involve predators and others who can pay a court judgment or settlement.
Below are some common parties named (defendants) in legal claims stemming from childhood sexual abuse.
- Clergy: Thousands of civil lawsuits have been filed against Catholic church members. The church says that as much as 1% of its priest population are abusers, equating to hundreds of thousands of wrongdoers and millions of sexually assaulted kids.
- Teacher: Teachers are the target of child sex abuse claims. In most cases, the teachers are named individually and as an employee of the school district where they were employed when the alleged abuse occurred.
- Coaches: Coaches have sexually abused minors with sexual harassment or inappropriate sexual activity.
- Doctors exercise such complete control over patients that abuse involving a patient can and does happen unexpectedly.
- Foster Parents: Our firm typically files claims against foster care agencies for failing to screen the parents or supervise minors.
- Youth Groups: Many large youth groups nationwide have been scrutinized for child sex abuse cases. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) received negative attention involving sex abuse litigation.
- Medical Care Facilities: Many sexually assaulted survivors reside in nursing homes where the predator might be an employer, staff member, visitor, or resident.
- Counselors: When people seek support from professionals, they are putting themselves in a vulnerable position, which can lead to the counselor taking advantage of the situation and sexual abuse occurring.
- Family members: Instances of abuse often occur within the home. Family members such as parents, uncles, and step-parents are often in positions of power that can make way for sexual abuse to occur
What Common Damages Can a Child Victim Seek?
There are numerous legal options in a civil proceeding to ensure that the abuser is punished and not allowed to commit sexual abuse again. Resolving a compensation claim does not require the abuser to be found guilty in criminal court to be held accountable for civil charges.
Being fairly compensated cannot heal the injury and emotional damage done by sexually abusive behavior. However, it can help sexually assaulted survivors and their families pay for medical treatment, counseling, lost wages, and other necessary expenses and financial costs.
Sexually assaulted adults and minors can seek monetary recovery in the Chicago area involving:
- Medical Expenses: Illinois attorneys can help the victim recover damages to pay for medical care and treatment for physical harm suffered in the attack.
- Counseling and Therapy: Many victims facing sexual abuse suffer from intense emotional traumas and event-associated mental illnesses that can last a lifetime.
- Pain and Suffering: Sex abuse survivors experience physical distress. You may be able to obtain financial recovery for these injuries.
Support for Sexual Abuse Victims
Sexual abuse can have long-term physical and mental effects on a victim, resulting in a lifetime of challenges. Many victims are ashamed, embarrassed, or afraid of what the future holds, especially if they report the incident or pursue a sexual abuse claim. The most important thing you can do is find support for yourself.
In Chicago, there are multiple sexual abuse support groups that you could join to meet other survivors and experience emotional support from people who understand what it is like. Additionally, therapy is a common practice for those who have undergone such traumatic events.
There are also national resources that can help provide support to victims facing sexual abuse, including the National Sexual Assault Hotline, the Joyful Heart Foundation, and the NotAlone initiative.
Many of these resources are available for calls, individual support, and campaigning against the dangers of sexual abuse.
Filing a Sexual Abuse Claim with the Right Firm
Were you or someone you know sexually assaulted in Chicago? Do you seek justice and monetary recovery to hold the abuser and others accountable for your physical suffering and damages of an emotional nature? Pursuing a sexual abuse suit can help you seek compensation for yourself or family members that have been sexually abused.At the very least, you deserve to earn compensation so that your financial losses are covered.
Call a sexual assault attorney from our Chicago law office if you or someone you know has been victimized by assault.
Hire Sexual Abuse Lawyers to Resolve Your Compensation Case
Hire Chicago Sexual Abuse Lawyers to Resolve Your Compensation Case
Have you or a loved one been sexually assaulted? Personal injury attorneys from our Chicago, IL, law office can file a claim against your abuser. You deserve compensation to recover financial and non-financial damages because of the sexual predator’s actions.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our firm accepts all sexual assault lawsuits on a contingency fee arrangement, meaning no upfront fees are paid until your sexual assault attorney resolves your civil lawsuit.
Call a Chicago sexual abuse lawyer at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form for your free consultation.