What to Do if You Suspect Sex Abuse
Charleston, WV attorneys seek justice for people harmed by predators
If you suspect that someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, there is no time to wait. Even if you can keep your family member or friend away from the alleged predator, other potential victims could be in danger. The lawyers at The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC are West Virginia sexual abuse attorneys who have helped victims take on their attackers and obtain justice for the harm that was done to them. From our office in Charleston, we offer comprehensive legal guidance to victims whether they need to get to safety immediately or are pursing damages for the harm done by sexual predators. Even if you are unsure about whether sex abuse is occurring, it is vital to take prompt action. Our firm offers West Virginians strong support as they seek to stop these acts and hold wrongdoers accountable.
What are the signs of sex abuse?
There’s no one definite indicator that someone has been victimized by sexual abuse. Younger children might speak inappropriately about sexual matters or be sore in private areas of their body. Victims of any age might behave differently or be afraid of things that previously did not bother them. In certain cases there might be physical signs of improper behavior, such as bruises or sexually transmitted infections. When you discuss your situation with our West Virginia sexual abuse attorneys, we can assess evidence that a problem exists and bring in experts to consult on whether a possible claim exists.
Discussing suspected sex abuse with a victim
Despite the ordeal they have been through, sex abuse survivors often have complicated feelings about reporting what occurred. When discussing sex abuse with a potential victim, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) encourages friends and loved ones to provide unconditional support and emphasize that the attack was not their fault. Be available to help the survivor if they are prepared to make a complaint to the police or initiate a civil legal proceeding, but understand that the survivor might not be immediately ready to take those steps.
Getting a sex abuse victim to safety
The criminal justice system can work slowly. Even if evidence of sexual abuse seems clear, it might take some time for an arrest to be made. If someone is harmed by a leader in a scouting or youth organization, the victim might fear severe retaliation. Nothing is more important than the safety of someone who has been attacked sexually and others who might be targeted by an abuser. Once the victim is in a secure location, our firm can assist with the legal process required to hold the abusive individual accountable, whether that entails police involvement, a civil action and/or the notification of the perpetrator’s employer.
Reporting suspected sex abuse
You should contact the police and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources office serving your county if you suspect that someone you know is a victim of sex abuse. Individuals in certain positions, such as medical professionals, clergy and teachers, are mandated reporters and must notify authorities when they believe a child has been harmed. The state maintains a centralized intake for abuse and neglect claims so law enforcement can determine if a potential abuser has been the subject of prior allegations.
Contact a West Virginia attorney for a consultation regarding a possible sex abuse claim
The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC represents West Virginia sex abuse victims to help them obtain compensation for the harm they suffered. Please call 888-819-1281 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney. Our office is in Charleston.