In the past decade, the law in many states has evolved to provide greater protection to adult survivors of child sexual abuse. For example, in Washington state, the legislature passed a special statute of limitations that allows abuse survivors to file a claim up to three years after they begin to understand how the abuse affected them. In doing so, the Washington legislature recognized that most children who are sexually abused do not tell anyone that they are being abused, and it is not until much later in life that people are able to open up and begin to heal. This same rationale is generally why so many states have changed their laws to protect abuse survivors and not those who allowed the abuse to happen.
There are also other laws that allow adult survivors to file claims for what happened to them as children. For example, most Boy Scouts and their parents were told that Scout leaders and volunteers were safe and could be trusted, but in reality the Boy Scouts had known for decades that sexual predators were using the Scouting program to sexually abuse children. Courts in a growing number of states have recognized this massive fraud by the Boy Scouts and are allowing abuse survivors to sue for covering-up the dangers of their program and waiting for decades to finally change their ways.
Not only is the law of each state different, but how it is applied to each claim is also different. For that reason, it is very important that you talk with an attorney who is experienced in these types of cases so they can help you understand your legal options. If you do not contact us, please make sure to contact someone else who has a lot of experience in this area of the law.
If you or someone you loved is coming forward about being sexually abused as a child, it is important to consider talking to a counselor who may be able to help you develop a plan for starting on the path toward closure. While counseling isn’t for everyone, in our experience most people find it highly valuable so long as they find a counselor who is a “good fit.” If you need help finding a counselor, please do not hesitate to contact us. If we do not know a counselor in your area, we will do our best to help you find one.
Please note: as explained above, every state has a different “statute of limitations” that sets a deadline for filing a legal claim, so while we believe counseling is usually an important part of the process, it is equally important that you talk with an attorney who can help you understand your rights and the deadline that applies to any legal claim you may have.
Many of our clients have found strength in supporting others as they come forward to address what happened to them as children, both informally and through formal organizations like SNAP. If you survived abuse as a child and want to help others, or want to talk with others, please contact us.
Share Your Story
While all of our client contact is confidential, and most courts have historically allowed abuse survivors to file claims using only their initials (e.g., “J.D.”) or a pseudonym (e.g., “John Doe”), some people want to tell their story publicly. This can be important for a number of reasons, including holding the Boy Scouts accountable for what they allowed to happen, and giving courage and a voice to other survivors of Boy Scout abuse. If you are not interested in filing a lawsuit, but want to share your story, we can help you achieve that goal.