Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Standing for Child and Adult Victims of Sexual Abuse, Assault and Molestation
Sexual abuse is unwanted, unasked-for and unacceptable sexual activity forced upon a child, teenager, adult or senior citizen by another person. In some cases, perpetrators threaten or otherwise take advantage of victims who are unable to resist or fight back. Sadly, most victims and their abusers know each other; it is not unusual for the abuser to be in a position of authority or someone that the victim has been taught to respect and obey, such as a teacher, police officer, religious leader, camp counselor, troop leader, work colleague or family member. Initial reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear and disbelief. Longer-term, victims may become extremely anxious, depressed, angry, and afraid, often suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These debilitating psychological effects can derail a person’s life.
Sexual Abuse is a Crime and Punishable by Law
Sexual crimes include sexual groping through assault and battery and rape. All U.S. states prohibit sexual abuse and assault, however the definition of each sex crime varies by state. In New Jersey, sexual assault and abuse laws are gender-neutral and are covered under Title 2C of the New Jersey criminal code.
If you were sexually abused you may be able to bring civil charges against not only your abuser, but also their employer if it turned a blind eye to, covered up the actions of or protected your abuser.
Thanks to recent legislation, as of December 1, 2019, New Jersey sexual abuse victims will have the power to file suit against institutions such as universities, the Boy Scouts of America, the Catholic Church and other religious organizations, day care centers, private schools, hospitals, municipalities and more. And, the statute of limitations for sexual abuse criminal and civil charges has been greatly extended. Monetary compensation will be paid for by the insurance companies covering these entities.
New Jersey Sexual Assault Laws
New Jersey recently passed legislation, NJ S477, that gives child and adult victims of sexual abuse significantly more leeway to file lawsuits against individuals and institutions that perpetrated and/or enabled and covered up these crimes. This legislation goes into effect on December 1, 2019 and removes the statute of limitations in certain sexual abuse civil actions and expands the categories of defendants. Two key wins for victims: Plaintiffs may sue their abusers until the plaintiff reaches 55 years of age, and some victims previously barred from suing their abusers may now file lawsuits.
Erin’s Law, NJ Bill A769 mandates that all New Jersey school districts incorporate sexual abuse prevention and awareness programs from grades pre-K through 12. Its purpose is to ensure that children understand what sexual abuse is and how they can protect themselves from it.
The New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program
In February 2019 the Archdioceses of Newark, Camden, Metuchen, Trenton and Paterson introduced the Independent Victim Compensation Program (IVCP). The purpose of the IVCP is to provide victims of child sexual abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic clergy a way to seek compensation without going to court. Victims that choose this option will not be able to file a civil lawsuit against the Catholic Church. The ICVP is a private compensation pathway; abusers and those who covered up for them will not be held publicly accountable.
Help and Resources for Victims of Sexual Abuse and Assault
Please know that there are concerned and trained people standing by to help you deal with what has happened to you. Call them anytime.
Statewide Hotline: (800) 601-7200
National Sexual Assault Hotline: (800) 656-HOPE
Our Experienced Sexual Abuse Attorneys Are Ready To Fight For You
Thanks to the passing of NJ Bill S477 you may be able to file a lawsuit against your abuser and possibly their employer. If you are ready to hold your abuser publicly accountable for their crimes, Keefe Law Firm is ready to stand with you. Email John E. Keefe, Jr. for a free and confidential consultation.