British Columbia Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Sexual abuse can have devastating, long-lasting effects on survivors. The challenges they face can impact every aspect of their lives.
Because of the criminal actions of a sexual predator, abuse survivors in British Columbia could face long-term difficulties related to their interpersonal relationships, their financial stability, and their mental health. Many survivors of sexual abuse develop serious mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Survivors of sexual abuse might blame themselves for the crime that was committed against them, believing that something they could have said or done differently might have saved them from being victimized. Many suffer from feelings of shame, low self-esteem, and lack of self-worth.
Additionally, being the victim of sexual abuse can cause survivors to develop self-destructive behavioural patterns or coping mechanisms as a way of trying to overcome their emotional trauma. This can include various forms of self-harm, as well as alcohol use disorder and issues with substance abuse.
Childhood sexual abuse is one of the strongest predictors of alcoholism, substance abuse, and addiction in adulthood. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse are 13 times more likely to develop alcoholism and 26 times more likely to suffer from substance use disorders than non-victims. Overcoming trauma is a process, one that could take years of even decades. Throughout this process, survivors of sexual abuse might require the assistance of psychological counselors, therapists, psychiatrists, support groups, and other specialists who are familiar with the emotional and psychological repercussions of being subjected to abuse.
Sexual abuse can be perpetrated by anyone, however it is most commonly committed by people who hold positions of power or trust, as well as people upon whom the victim is somehow dependant. Authority figures could use their position to threaten or bully someone in a subservient position to engage in unwanted sexual activities. People who have gained the trust of their targets could exploit that trust to manipulate or coerce a child, teenager, or vulnerable adult into participating in non-consensual sexual acts. And those upon whom a sexual abuse target is dependant might blackmail their victims into performing sexual acts in exchange for money or privileges. These forms of sexual exploitation are often carried out by:
- Religious figures
- Camp counselors
- Extracurricular programme staff
- Scout leaders
- Sports coaches
- Foster parents
- Juvenile detention centre guards
- Psychiatric hospital staff
- Long-term care providers
- And more
Since sexual predators tend to seek out employment or volunteer opportunities within organizations that put them in close proximity to potential targets, sexual abuse often takes place under the auspices of a larger institution. Typically, these types of organizations have administrators, supervisors, boards, or other governing bodies who implement policies to protect the people in their care. However, certain institutions might be more concerned with protecting their own organizational reputation than protecting the physical safety of others.
Institutional sexual abuse refers to sexual violence that takes place within an organization, such as a religious institution, school, or care facility. Unfortunately, many organizations have a history of turning a blind eye to sexual abuse within their ranks, allowing the cycle of violence to continue. This can include failing to report abuse to the authorities, ignoring complaints, and actively protecting perpetrators. By neglecting the duty of care they owe to the people in their care, these organizational bodies make it more difficult for future victims to come forward, as they might be afraid of facing disbelief and inaction. This culture of secret-keeping also tacitly implies that perpetrators of sexual abuse can continue engaging in criminal behaviour without the fear of being reprimanded or removed their positions. Institutional sexual abuse is an eggregious injustice, one that puts future generations of victims in harm’s way.
Working with Our British Columbia Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Surviving sexual abuse can have serious financial repercussions. On top of enduring emotional and psychological trauma for years– or even decades – following their abuse, survivors often face financial instability.
This is particularly true for survivors of sexual abuse who were exploited as children. As a result of their traumatizing experience with a trusted authority figure, these victims may not have been able to complete their education, pursue vocational training opportunities, or fulfill their overall career potential. Because of this, they might struggle to find stable employment and earn a livable wage, thereby exacerbating the psychological impacts of the abuse they suffered.
Not every survivors of sexual abuse is ready to begin psychological counseling to address their trauma, nor does everybody have the ability to afford the costs of necessary treatment. The cost of necessary care can be expensive. Without access to stable income or adequate insurance coverage, the people who need the services of mental health professionals the most may not feel as though it is an option for them at all. As a consequence, people suffering from the psychological impacts of being sexually abused may find themselves relying on more self-destructive coping habits, including alcohol and substance abuse.
It is important for sexual abuse survivors to know that they are never to blame for someone else’s criminal impulses and actions, nor do they need to face the emotional, psychological, and financial consequences alone. There are resources available to the survivors of sexual abuse to help them on their healing journey.
Our British Columbia sexual abuse lawyers are committed to helping survivors seek out the accountability they deserve. By pursuing a civil claim against the perpetrators of abuse and any other parties or entities responsible for the crime, our sexual abuse lawyers serving British Columbia may be able to help you recover financial compensation for damages you have incurred or will incur in the future. If you were ever subjected to sexual abuse, you may be entitled to damages for:
- Medical expenses
- Psychological counseling
- Psychiatric treatment
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earning capabilities
- Loss of interdependent relationships
- Failure to reach potential
- Emotional distress
- And more
Many survivors find it difficult to discuss the abuse to which they were subjected, even if it took place years ago. Speaking out about this awful crime takes courage, but doing so can be an important step towards healing. Our British Columbia sexual abuse lawyers provide all prospective clients with an entirely confidential, entirely cost-free initial consultation, during which survivors of sexual abuse can receive personalized legal advice about options for compensation that might be open to them. To receive your free initial consultation with our sexual abuse lawyers serving British Columbia, contact us today.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation
In British Columbia, there is no statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims. That means it is never too late to contact Preszler Injury Lawyers. Even if your traumatizing experience happened a long time ago, our British Columbia sexual abuse lawyers may be able to help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
To learn more about options that might be available to you, schedule your free initial consultation by contacting our sexual abuse lawyers serving British Columbia.