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We all want to believe that teachers would never harm a vulnerable little one, but reality tells a far bleak story. From 2017 to 2018, there were nearly 15,000 reports of sexual violence in K-12 schools nationwide. Colleges are hotbeds of abuse as well. About 13% of all undergraduate and graduate students have experienced rape or sexual assault.

Below, a lawyer who helps victims of sexual abuse in schools explains how to seek compensation if you or your loved one suffered unwanted sexual abuse at school.

What Are Some Types of Sexual Abuse in Schools?

Rape isn’t the only type of sexual abuse that children might experience at schools. Other types of abuse include:

  • Unwanted touching
  • Forcing a child to touch someone else inappropriately 
  • Taking graphic pictures of a child
  • Exposing a child to sexual pictures or videos
  • Watching a child undress
  • Aggravated sexual assault

Aggravated sexual assault, in particular, is an extremely serious crime. It occurs when the abuser:

  • Physically injures or kills the victim
  • Gives the victim a substance to impair them, such as alcohol or drugs
  • Threatens to kidnap or traffic the victim
  • Assaults a victim below 14 years of age

Grooming Is a Precursor to Sexual Abuse

Grooming is an insidious tactic that abusers use to gain the trust of young victims. Abusers use this tactic to normalize abuse and make victims think that the two of them are friends.

Most groomers exhibit a specific pattern of behavior:

  • They first select a vulnerable victim, such as a young child.
  • They then physically or emotionally separate the child from people who could offer protection.
  • They encourage the victim to trust them. They might do this by sharing secrets or saying things like, “Nobody else understands you like I do.”
  • They slowly escalate their sexual behavior. For instance, they might start by hugging the victim, then offer a back rub, and eventually ask the victim to perform sexual favors.

Signs of Sexual Abuse in Schools

Childhood sexual abuse isn’t always easy to recognize. Many victims are afraid to speak up because they fear what the abuser might do to them. Others think that no one will believe them if they tell.

If you suspect abuse, look for these signs:

  • Unexplained physical injuries
  • Anxiety, nervousness, and agitation
  • Shying away from family members
  • A lack of interest in things they once loved to do

Can You Sue for Childhood Sexual Abuse That Happened Years Ago?

The short answer is yes, but the statute of limitations for filing civil cases depends on the state in which you live.

Each state has a different statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including sexual abuse.   Additionally, because of the nature of childhood sexual abuse claims, many states have extended those statutes of limitations even further than other kinds and types of personal injuries. It’s critical that you speak with a law firm with experience in helping victims of childhood sexual abuse to make sure your rights are protected.

Contact a sexual abuse in public schools lawyer to determine whether you can file a civil lawsuit in your state.

Identifying Liable Parties

If a teacher, high school nurse, coach, fellow student, or administrator abused you as a child, they may not be the only liable party. Other staff may be liable if they knew about the abuse and covered it up. The school itself may also be liable.

Damages for Public School Sexual Abuse

If you suffered abuse at school as a child, the physical pain may have faded long ago, but emotional scars likely remain. You can seek compensation for the emotional suffering your abuser has inflicted on you.

Your damages might include:

  • The cost of treating sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • The cost of mental health treatment
  • Anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions
  • Humiliation and embarrassment
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-harm and attempted suicide

We Will Help You Seek Justice for Childhood Sexual Abuse

Even if you suffered abuse at school many years ago, you may be able to hold your abuser liable for their actions. Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C., will help you identify all liable parties and fight for fair compensation for the suffering you’ve endured.

For a confidential consultation with sexual abuse in public schools lawyer, call (800) 433-2408.