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Child Sexual Assault Lawyers

There are many different terms people use to describe sexual abuse including:

  • molestation
  • rape
  • sexual assault

Although many people use these terms interchangeably, they actually have different meanings in different jurisdictions. In some states, legislators have replaced the world “rape” with “sexual assault,” shifting the focus of the crime from the sexual aspect to the violent aspect. Still other states use terms like criminal sexual conduct, sexual battery, criminal sexual penetration, and sexual intercourse without consent.  It is important to note that not all child sexual abuse includes touching or sexual contact. Sexual abuse can also include indecent exposure of genitals to a child, or using a child to produce child sexual pornography. Additionally, “grooming” of a child, a characteristic of pedophilia, is befriending or establishing an emotional connection with a child to lower their inhibitions for sexual abuse, including using the child for prostitution or the production of child pornography. If you feel a child has been abused, contact our child sexual assault attorneys today.

Characteristics of Sexually Assaulted Children

Characteristic of ChildEstimate of Sexual Assault VictimsPercent of Sexual Assault VictmsPercent of US Child Population (N=70,172,700)
Gender
Female252,7008949
Male32,7001151
Age (years)
0-512,3004*33
6-89,800*3*17
9-1130,5001117
12-1477,9002717
15-17154,8005417
Race/Ethnicity
White, non-hispanic182,0006463
Black, non-hispanic52,2001816
Hispanic26,500*9*16
Other23,500*8*6
No information1,200*<1*

Data  from National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children. All numbers based on 285,400 total sexual assault victims. *Estimate is based on too few sample cases to be reliable.

What is the difference between child sexual assault and molestation?

Sexual molestation is forcing unwanted sexual behavior by one person on another. The act of “sexual assault” often refers to the specific crime, while the term “molestation” may refer to the event itself or the entire time period during which the abuse took place. Victims can be any age or gender. When the victim is younger than the age of consent, the act is referred to as statutory rape or child sexual assault. A child cannot consent to any form of sexual activity.  The perpetrator or offender is referred to as a child molester or sexual abuser.  In institutional settings, perpetrators can be teachers, coaches, priests/ pastors, or even health care providers. If you are victim of sexual abuse, you should know that the event was not  your fault, and there is nothing to be ashamed about.  Victims are entitled to heal and recover from abuse, and an attorney can help victims obtain resource to cope and heal.

Child sexual assault statistics 

The prevalence of child sexual assaults is not known because so many victims do not report their abuse. We do know that children suffer sexual abuse much more often than is reported, but how much, we don’t know. Some researchers have suggested rates of reporting varying from 1% to 35%. According to the Children’s Assessment Center of Houston, most experts agree “that there will be 500,000 babies born in the US this year that will be sexually assaulted before then turn 18 if we do not prevent it.” Children are victimized at a much higher rate than adults. Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including adults) occurs in children 17 and under.

Characteristics of a Child Sexual Assault

Characteristic of EpisodePercent of All Sexual Assault Victims (n=285,400)
Location
Own home14
Other home38
Car or other vehicle9
Work6*
Public area23*
Other location8*
Duration
Less than 1 hour42
1 hour or longer46
No information12
Coercive elements and harm
Perpetrator used weapon10*
Child was abducted23
Child was injured17
Season
Winter21
Spring28
Summer31
Fall21
Day of week
Monday through Thursday12
Friday36
Saturday17*
Sunday4*
No information31
Time of day
Morning2*
Afternoon27
Evening30
Night32
No information9*

What are the classifications of sexual assault of a child?

You may hear terms like:

  • aggravated
  • involuntary
  • coerced

Jurisdictions sometimes use highly technical terms. It is important to remember that the legal definition of the crime will be unique to the jurisdiction (for more information, see our state-by-state map). For example, in Texas, the offense of Sexual Assault of a Child is defined by Texas Penal Code Sec. 22.011. The crime is deemed to be “Aggravated” if the child is under 14 years of age, if a deadly weapon is used or serious bodily injury is threatened. This crime (in Texas) is usually a second degree felony (punishable by 2-20 years) but if the victim was younger than six years old at the time of the offense, or there was violence or a threat of violence involved), the crime may be a first degree felony (punishable by 5 to 99 years or life in prison).

How Can a Child Sexual Assault Attorney Help?

While the process of filing a civil claim against a perpetrator may sound overwhelming, the right child sexual assault attorney can help make it a healing process for the victim and their family. There are many negative emotions associated with sexual trauma besides just the act itself. Many victims feel isolated, ashamed, or guilty. The act of holding the person responsible for the abuse is oftentimes a big part of the healing process. It puts the power back in the hands of the victim and has been proven to have significant psychological benefits for the victims.

By holding an abuser accountable, children learn they are not helpless. It can be a way for the children to conquer their trauma . A skilled child sexual assault lawyer will fight for compensation that can help pay for services needed through the therapeutic process. It also relieves some financial burden and stress to allow the child and caregivers a chance to focus on recovery and healing. If you suspect a child is being sexual abused, contact the authorities and hold the abuser accountable. If the child suffered from molestation in Boy Scouts, molestation at school, Catholic Church molestation, or other forms of molestation in an institution, our child sexual abuse attorneys may be able to help. Contact us for a free initial consultation.

How to protect children from sexual assault

Because an assault is a violent act, many parents believe that their child is an unlikely victim or invincible from abuse.  It is difficult to believe that a teacher, coach, or close family friend could be capable of such acts. Protect your children by:

Know the Characteristics of a Child Sexual Assault Predator

Characteristic of PerpetratorAll Sexual Assault Victims EstimateAll Sexual Assault Victims Percent
More than one perpetrator
Yes64,80023
No216,50076
No Information4,000*1*
Identity of main perpetrator
Family Member27,20010
Father12,600*4*
Brother5,700*2*
Other relative9,000*3*
Acquaintance183,200
Child's friend or acquaintance148,10052
Family friend or acquaintance23,300*8*
Authority or caretaker11,800*4*
Stranger72,400
Known only by sight20,2007*
Complete stranger52,20018
No information2,500*1*
Main perpetrator's age
12 or younger12,000*4*
13-1771,70025
18-29124,70044
30-3923,100*8*
40-4921,600*8*
50+8,100*3*
No information24,100*8*
Main perpetrator's gender
Male272,50095
Female10,3004*
No information2,500*<1*

Take action today

The effects of and consequences of child sexual assault are far-reaching, and can impact victims’ emotional development, self-esteem, and personality.  Along with recovering financial damages, the legal process has powerful psychological benefits. For a free and confidential initial case consultation, contact the child sexual assault attorneys at Estey & Bomberger today. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no up-front fees and if we don’t win, we aren’t paid for our services.

Take a step toward your recovery today

Call us today for a free and confidential consultation and find out how we can help. We are committed to helping you in any way possible. If you have been the victim of institutional child molestation/sex abuse, we are ready to stand by your side and fight for you.
Call 1-800-925-0723 and start your recovery today.

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