Ventura Sexual Abuse Victim Attorneys
At the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth, our Ventura injury lawyers are loyal to the cause of promoting the rights, interests, and well-being of our clients. Acts of sexual abuse, no matter how minor or major, can cause serious damage to people’s lives. Beyond the emotional and psychological anxiety that a victim may feel, the ripple effects can be felt among an entire community.
When a child or anyone else in a vulnerable position has been sexually abused, the resulting scars can be irreversible. Our attorneys can advocate for the rights of sexual assault and sexual abuse victims and fight to get them compensation for the harm they faced, bringing their abusers to light in a civil lawsuit. To set up a free legal consultation on your case, contact our law offices at (805) 643-5555.
The Definition of Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault in California
The first question that many victims of sexual assault or sexual abuse have is to question what happened to them and ask whether it constitutes sexual abuse. California’s laws are incredibly broad and define sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual abuse using very broad terms that cover a wide variety of conduct. There is no need to question whether the harm you suffered was severe enough to seek justice; any inappropriate touching, grooming, or physical assault is likely illegal under at least one statute and is sufficient to begin the process of seeking justice.
Talk to an attorney if you have any questions about your potential case. Our lawyers can help guide you through the process and help you understand your rights as a survivor of sexual assault or sexual abuse.
Uncovering Child Sexual Abuse
In cases involving childhood sexual abuse, the ramifications of an unspeakable tragedy can result in years of emotional and psychological trauma. Sometimes, seeing a child’s abuser put in jail does not seem to serve as complete justice for what has been done to your family. Our skilled sexual abuse lawyers can also pursue financial compensation from the individual, school, organization, or religious entity that is responsible for the life-changing damage your child has endured.
The first step in holding an abuser accountable is discovering the abuse. Many parents may be in the dark about the abuse their child has suffered, and it can be difficult to talk to your child about the incident if they are young or do not understand what has happened to them. The following are signs of abuse and trauma to look for in a child to help you uncover abuse:
- Unexplained behavior or irritability
- Sudden bed wetting or wetting the bed later in childhood
- Running away or wanting to run away
- Nightmares and sleeping problems
- Demonstrating behaviors of withdrawing from others or clinging to others
- Changes in behavior, mood, eating habits, or personality
- Creation of an imaginary friend
- Physical signs of abuse, such as bruises or other marks
- Other symptoms of anxiety, stress, or trauma
You can also uncover abuse by looking for suspicious activity from adults in your child’s community. Talking to teachers, principals, priests, family members, and other adults your child comes in contact with can help you understand if anything questionable has been happening.
Suing for Sexual Abuse Years after the Assault
Many people take years to come to terms with the trauma they suffered and the effects of the abuse they experienced as a child. In many cases, adults who only just began to process and understand the abuse they suffered feel scared and ashamed, and they are afraid to come forward about their abuse. These survivors may also be afraid to come forward because they fear the deadline to file their case has passed.
In many cases, the statute of limitations for civil actions against abusers is longer than you think it might be. If you were an adult when the abuse occurred, new laws that went into effect January 1, 2019 give you 10 years to file your case. This extends the deadline significantly from the old 2-year statute of limitations.
For survivors of sexual abuse or sexual assault who were abused as a minor, the deadline to file your case may be significantly longer. The law does not expect minors to come forward about these kinds of incidents, and the statute of limitations gives you 8 years from the time you turn 18 to file a claim for sexual abuse that occurred any time when you were under 18. That means that even if the abuse occurred when you were 12, you should have until you turn 26 to file your case.
For abuse or psychological trauma that you could not discover before you were 26, you have 3 years from the date of discovery to file your claim. Repressed memories are not uncommon in these kinds of cases, and if you realize the trauma that you suffered later in life, you have 3 years from the date of your discovery to file your claim.
Never assume that it is too late to seek justice. Talk to a lawyer to see if your case can still be filed.
If a Family Member Was the Victim of Sexual Abuse in Ventura or Santa Barbara, Call Our Attorneys
The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth’s Ventura sexual abuse victim lawyers have handled high-profile litigation matters in the Ventura and Santa Barbara communities, and we are fully aware of the importance of protecting the rights and privacy of victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. We take great care while handling your legal matters, and we always operate with the utmost degree of confidentiality. If you or a loved one was sexually abused or sexually assaulted as a child or as an adult, call our attorneys today to discuss scheduling a free legal consultation and getting help to seek justice and compensation for the harm you suffered. Our number is (805) 643-5555.