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Can the Privacy of Child Sexual Abuse Victims Be Protected in a Lawsuit?

April 3, 2024
Privacy of Child Sexual Abuse Victims Be Protected in a Lawsuit

Learning that your child suffered sexual abuse is devastating. While you may be determined to pursue justice through child abuse litigation, you may also worry that exposure will cause your child further distress. Is there any way to keep your family’s identity private? 

A child sexual abuse attorney can advise you on privacy protection strategies to use during your lawsuit. Learn how you can keep your child’s name out of the spotlight, while taking action against the perpetrator.

Can You Use a Pseudonym in a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

Usually, when you take legal action against someone, you must use your official name. However, if your case involves disclosing sensitive information (as commonly occurs in sexual abuse lawsuits), the court will usually allow you to sue under an alias, especially if the victim is a minor. You may have several options for a pseudonym, like John or Jane Doe or simply your initials.  

Ideally, you should use a pseudonym from the start of your case to protect your anonymity. However, in some situations, the court may allow you to use a pseudonym even when you initially filed the complaint under your child’s real name. This approval usually depends on the other party’s agreement as well as your case staying under the same jurisdiction.

A child sexual abuse attorney can let you know whether you’re likely to gain approval to use a pseudonym. You may still have to document your legal name to the court, but courts and lawyers are under commitment to full legal confidentiality.

Minimizing Contact With the Abuser

The prospect of meeting the abuser again can be terrifying and re-traumatizing for young victims. However, since many sexual abuse cases end with a settlement rather than a trial, your child may never need to meet the perpetrator again. Your lawyer will handle any legal communication with the other side and with the court.

Based on your child’s age, your lawyer could also ask to limit admissible evidence during the process. This could give your child additional privacy protection.   Simply filing a claim should not result in defendants or their lawyers having unlimited ability to ask painful and unnecessary questions to an already traumatized victim.   

If your case still proceeds to trial, you could ask the court to grant your child permission to attend the trial virtually. If the court approves your request, they will provide a separate room where your child would give evidence through video and in this manner, may not need to be in the same room as the victim, or see them directly.

Will Other People Know About Your Legal Process?

You and your child might not want to tell anyone, even family or close friends, about the case. Using a pseudonym can help you maintain privacy, and anyone handling your case must keep it confidential.

However, even if you’re suing anonymously, your family and friends may still find out about the legal process if you require their testimony during the case. Either your child sexual abuse attorney or the other side’s representation may contact people who know you and ask them to step up as witnesses, but even then, lawyers won’t reveal more than is strictly necessary.

Your lawyer can also counsel you on keeping your identity private after your case settles.

Call Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C.: Legal Representation for Child Sexual Abuse Victims in Texas and New Mexico

Are you wondering about your confidentiality rights when suing for child sexual abuse? Contact our law firm today. Our assertive and compassionate legal team focuses on victim advocacy in sexual abuse cases. With 30 years of experience, we know every strategy that could protect your family’s privacy while helping you seek justice.

Call 800-433-2408 or Contact Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. for a free consultation with a child sexual abuse attorney.