Sexual Assault in a Youth Organization
Sexual assault can be emotionally taxing for victims—especially children—to talk about and report due to the sensitive, private, and sometimes embarrassing nature of the crime. However, it could be vital that you discuss this traumatic event with someone you feel comfortable with if you decide to file a lawsuit or press charges against the parties responsible.
Recent changes to the statute of limitations in New York allow more individuals who suffered sexual abuse as a child to come forward. Previously, this statute allowed child victims of sexual abuse only until their 23rd birthday to sue the party responsible for the abuse they suffered, whether it was an individual person or an institution.
Under the recently passed Child Victims Act, though, the maximum age will change to 55. The extension also applies to child victims who were previously handicapped by the statute of limitations.
If you or someone you know was a child victim of sexual abuse and wishes to pursue a claim, it is important to know the steps you should take. A compassionate attorney could provide further information about pursuing a case alleging sexual assault in a youth organization.
First Steps for a Sexual Assault Claim:
In order to prove a sexual assault occurred, it is generally necessary to gather as much information as possible about where the abuse happened, the abuser, and any institution involved in the abuse. Evidence confirming the timeline of events can also help establish a case.
Seek Out Support
Whenever feasible, victims of sexual abuse seeking to file suit should look to their friends, family, and even professionals for emotional support. Reliving the events of past abuse can be difficult even decades later, and abuse of any type affects each person differently, so support from those around you could be critical if you choose to begin the legal process.
Before and while filing suit, abuse victims should take note of the essential resources at their disposal, including community groups or organizations for sexual assault or abuse survivors such as RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) and Safe Horizon. Although seasoned lawyers have experience dealing with these traumatic events, having additional support is always encouraged.
Abuse Within the Boy Scouts of America
Founding in the United States in 1910, the Boys Scouts of America aimed to give boys ages 11 and older experience in camping, observation, lifesaving, and other nonmilitary skills that emphasized morality and good deeds. The program eventually expanded into Girl Scouts of America, Cub Scouts of America, and various other programs. As of 2011, the Boy Scouts of America was the largest youth organization within the United States with around 2.7 million youth members.
Due to the high risk of abuse within youth organizations, the Boy Scouts of America created a sex abuse education and prevention program in 1988 to address allegations of such conduct within the organization. As recently as 2010, cases of sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts have gone to court and garnered large amounts in punitive damages. With the extension in the statute of limitations granted by the Child Victims Act, many who previously could not press charges against their abuser now have the ability to do so.
Other Youth Organizations
Due to the relationship between children and those employed by institutions of childcare, sexual abuse can happen to children of all ages and sometimes remain secret for years. Unfortunately, the following institutions are further examples of the wide range of settings in which sexual abuse can occur:
- Big Brothers, Big Sisters
- Day camps or sleep-away camps
- School or church-affiliated youth organizations
Suing Youth Organizations for Allowing Sexual Abuse to Occur
Any qualified sexual assault lawyer recognizes that this kind of abuse can be difficult for someone to relive or discuss. Should you elect to retain one, though, a compassionate attorney could serve as both a legal resource and as a staunch ally throughout the litigation process.
If you experienced sexual assault in a youth organization, dedicated legal counsel could help you chart the best path forward for your case, whether it occurred recently or if the applicable statute of limitations has been extended with the recent change in legislation. Call today to set up a confidential consultation.