The scale of child sex abuse at elementary and secondary schools is much larger than many people realize. While it may seem that these are isolated cases we hear about on the news, many more children endure this type of abuse in private. It is likely also underreported, meaning the prevalence is even higher than the statistics suggest.
If you are a childhood sexual abuse survivor or have a child who was recently victimized by a trusted adult at their school, you have legal options. You can speak to a Washington sex abuse lawyer from Jackman Law Firm about your case for free today. Connect with our team as soon as possible to learn more.
How Prevalent is Child Sex Abuse and Sexual Assault in Elementary and Secondary Schools?
Research can only show us how often sexual abuse is reported, and those reports reach the school board, state or local officials, and the local police. It is unknown how often sexual abuse affects children and teens at school. Here’s what we do know:
- 1 in 5 girls endure sexual abuse before the age of 18
- 1 in 20 boys are abused or assaulted sexually before turning 18
- When surveyed, 20 percent of adult females and between 5 and 10 percent of adult males recall childhood sexual abuse or assault from their childhood
We understand that children are most vulnerable to child sex abuse between the ages of 7 and 13. This means they are likely in elementary, junior, or middle school during this period. Knowing this and knowing how many hours a day children spend under the care of teachers and administrators, it is no surprise that the most common place children endure child sex abuse is at an educational institution.
Sexual abuse at school can occur at public or private schools. The U.S. Department of Education closely tracks incidents of reported sexual assault and rape at public schools. This data comes from the Civil Rights Data Collection, which occurs every other year.
This report showed shocking news for the 2017-18 school year, including:
- An almost 50 percent increase in reports of sexual violence
- More than 13,100 reports of sexual assault in schools, a 42 percent increase
- 685 incidents of rape or attempted rape, a 74 percent increase
According to the analysis of the report, there were several reasons why this increase might occur. This could include:
- Previous under-reporting
- An increase in incidents
- The #MeToo Movement, which began in 2017, encouraged victims to report the abuse
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Child Sexual Abuse Also Occurs in Other Childhood Activities and Trusted Organizations
It shocks many people to learn that children are victimized by adults trusted to ensure their safety and well-being. However, this is not new. Activities for children and teens are often where perpetrators look for victims. The dangers go beyond school to churches, camps, and other activities.
Some recent allegations and legal cases show how common it is that adults charged with caring for children and teens and enriching their lives become abusers. This includes:
- Boy Scouts of America sexual abuse cases
- The Catholic Church sex abuse lawsuits
- Presbyterian Church abuse allegations
- Protestant church sexual abuse lawsuits
Some parents think of a sexual predator as a stranger who looks and behaves a certain way. However, they are often teachers, church leaders, and other community figures. Most children and teen sexual abuse survivors knew the perpetrator, often through childhood activities.
According to statistics published by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), 93 percent of children and teens who endure sexual abuse know their abuser. Of that, more than 90 percent:
- 59 percent are acquaintances of the child, teen, or family
- 34 percent are family members
- Only 7 percent were unknown to the victim
How do Childhood Sex Abuse Cases Against Elementary and Secondary Schools Work?
At Jackman Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers understand the damage childhood sexual assault and abuse can do. Survivors may require ongoing emotional and psychological care and support for decades or the rest of their lives. They may have mental health concerns that make it difficult to work or maintain a job. Their pain, suffering, and emotional distress are often immense.
Survivors should not have to shoulder this burden on their own. Many states have now made it possible to hold the perpetrator and any organization—such as a school or church—that allowed the abuse to occur accountable. Survivors may be able to pursue a civil case based on childhood sexual abuse even years later.
When you work with a childhood sexual abuse attorney to manage your case, you can trust them to maintain confidentiality and treat your case with the compassion and empathy you deserve. They will provide the support, guidance, and legal representation you need to get justice.
What Should I Do If I Endured Childhood Sexual Abuse in My School?
The best way to decide if you want to move forward with a civil case based on childhood sexual abuse is to discuss it with a local lawyer familiar with these incidents and the ongoing lawsuits based on them.
Each state sets its own deadline for filing a sexual abuse or assault lawsuit, and that deadline is often different for childhood survivors than for those who suffered an assault as an adult.
We encourage you to contact an attorney for a free consultation to learn about your rights and how to proceed with a case based on the applicable laws near you.
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Discuss Your Childhood Sexual Abuse Case With Our Team Today
Jackman Law Firm provides free, confidential consultations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse in their school, church, or another trusted location. We know how to hold those who allowed the abuse to occur legally accountable. Let our team assess your case and legal options for free today. We are here to help you.
Contact us now about your next steps. A compassionate and understanding team member is available now to take your call.