Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is sexual abuse?

Although definitions of sexual abuse may vary, one standard definition is the forcing of unwanted sexual activity by one person on another, as by the use of threats or coercion. Another is sexual activity that is deemed improper or harmful, as between an adult and a minor.

Can a sexual abuse victim sue his abuser/perpetrator?

A victim of sexual abuse can sue his abuser in a civil lawsuit.

How is a civil lawsuit different than a criminal proceeding against the perpetrator?

A criminal action against a perpetrator of sexual abuse seeks criminal penalties such as jail time and a civil lawsuit seeks monetary damages.

Can a sexual abuse victim sue anyone other than his/her abuser?

Yes. If an organization knew or should have known about sexual abuse and did not take action, they may be held legally accountable.

Is there a time limit in which to sue for sexual abuse?

The time limit or statute of limitations for sexual abuse varies from state to state and may vary depending on other factors. You should never decide that your time has expired when considering bringing a lawsuit based on sexual abuse. You should consult with a qualified lawyer first.

What if the sexual abuse happened many years ago?

You may not be time barred from bringing a lawsuit. You should speak with a qualified lawyer first.

What types of damages are sought in a civil lawsuit?

The types of damages may vary from state to state but will most likely include damages for past and future pain, suffering and emotional damages, past and future medical care and treatment, past and/or future lost earnings and may include punitive damages.