Sexual abuse is one of the most traumatic things that a child, young adult, or individual can endure in their lifetime. The act of sexual abuse is defined by law as any type of unwanted or nonconsensual sexual activity, and there are many types of sexual abuse ranging from improper touching to forced intercourse. The founder of the advocacy and educational program called Lauren's Kids, Lauren Book, understands how hard it is for kids and young adults to talk about sexual abuse and seek help. She was a victim of sexual abuse herself at a young age, and is one of the largest proponents of a bill (HB 70312) that would allow prosecutors to use out-of-court statements made by sexual abuse victims up to age 16.
One of the reasons why young victims of sexual abuse do not speak up and take action against their offenders is fear of going to court and testifying in trial. Going to court is an unpleasant experience for most people, especially for young children who must confront their abuser all over again. According to the Florida Council of Sexual Violence, 44% of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 18, and this bill would allow many of these victims to avoid the traumatizing courtroom confrontation. This bill would also offer additional tools to find and keep sex offenders off the street. As of now, this bill has been referred to the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee and hasn't been put on the calendar yet.
If you or your child have been the victim of sexual abuse, you may bring a civil personal injury lawsuit against the abuser in addition to reporting the behavior as a crime. Here at Mesa Law Firm, our Miami injury lawyers have been standing up for the rights of abuse victims for many years. We are intimately familiar with the ways that personal injury laws protect your rights in these situations and how you can seek justice and compensation for what you have gone through. You only have a certain window of time to file a lawsuit, however, and this time period is referred to as the statute of limitations.
Generally, you will have between one to three years to file a personal injury lawsuit, and the clock will start running on the date of injury. You may be able to file for an extension of this time period, and this is common in cases where a young sexual abuse victim has trouble remembering when the abuse occurred. Above all, it is most important to speak up when you know that sexual abuse is taking place. While filing a claim for compensation cannot reverse time and erase the abuse, it can help you down the road to physical and emotional recovery by holding your abuser accountable for their actions. Call Mesa Law Firm today for a free consultation to discuss your situation and how to protect your rights.