Philadelphia Attorney for Victims of Sexual Abuse
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    Philadelphia Attorney for Victims of Sexual Abuse

    Sexual abuse is an absolutely inexcusable act. It carries repercussions that never truly end, and creates wounds which may never fully heal. The physical, emotional, and psychological impact of these terrible acts can permanently alter a victim’s personality, and many survivors are completely deprived of their ability to feel comfortable, happy, and secure in their everyday lives. They may fall into patterns of promiscuity, alcoholism, or drug addiction to dull the pain they have been forced to cope with, and often withdraw from relationships and hobbies they formerly enjoyed. Survivors frequently suffer from conditions such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, or PTSD.

    Sadly, many of these innocent victims do not feel safe enough to pursue legal action against the predator. Abusers are experts at emotional manipulation, and in some cases even threaten their victims or victims’ families with violence or other acts of retaliation. This cruel power dynamic is completely unacceptable. The victims of these heinous acts have every right to seek justice and accountability for the horror they have endured. The Philadelphia sexual abuse attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm want to help you fight for the closure you deserve. Call our law offices at (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free, confidential legal consultation today.

    The Reiff Law Firm: Philadelphia Sexual Abuse Lawyers

    While filing a lawsuit cannot turn back the hands of time to take back what has already happened, it can expose the predator, and lead to significant financial compensation. What abuse survivors endure is despicable, but many litigants find that fighting back offers priceless peace of mind. Your brave actions today could even prevent others from being hurt by the same abuser in the future.

    With so much hanging in the balance, you need a team of committed, aggressive attorneys with a history of achieving excellent results. The attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm have more than three decades of experience, and we have represented thousands of clients in a wide variety of highly complex cases. Our firm is supported by a nationally recognized team of abuse experts, investigators, and law enforcement officials, and all of our attorneys have received settlements and verdicts in excess of seven and eight figures. We are dedicated to the pursuit of justice and will fight relentlessly on your behalf.

    Sexual Abuse in Philadelphia

    Sexual abuse or assault refers to behavior or sexual contact with a victim without explicit consent. Sexual abuse includes but is not limited to some of the conduct and actions listed below.

    • Rape is forcible intercourse without consent with an individual who has been threatened, is unconscious, or is otherwise incapable of providing explicit and unquestionable consent.
    • Statutory sexual assault is sexual intercourse with an individual under the age of 16. In this case, whether or not the victim granted explicit consent does not matter.
    • Institutional sexual abuse occurs when an individual is forced or otherwise engaged in involuntary sexual conduct while under the care of a mental health facility, school, correctional center, nursing home, or any other facility charged with the care and welfare of the victim. In these types of cases, it is often possible to hold the institution accountable.
    • Exposing genitals in a public area when others are present is indecent exposure and a form of sexual abuse.
    • Sharing or explicit photographs or material to either harass or embarrass a former sexual partner is illegal.
    • Providing explicit material to a minor is also a form of sexual abuse.
    • Sexual abuse can also occur through emails, texts, phone calls, or other forms of communication.

    The above is just a partial list of conduct that constitutes sexual abuse. If you believe you or a loved one is a victim of abuse, it is critical to talk with an agency that specializes in sexual abuse as well as calling our sympathetic and experienced Philadelphia attorney.

    Cases Our Firm Has Handled

    Cases of sexual abuse and unlawful contact often involve perpetrators who hold a position of power over trusting victims. These predators exploit their authority, instill feelings of fear and shame, and actively try to suppress the voices of those they prey upon. We have prosecuted against physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, grief counselors, teachers, camp counselors, Scout masters, clergy, and family members. Our clients have ranged from young children to elderly individuals who suffered harm while in nursing homes.

    One of our landmark cases involved a young female victim who was repeatedly molested and raped by her treating psychiatrist. The case resolved for a seven-figure amount. In another case, our lawyers were able to prove that a restaurant manager was molesting underage female employees and threatening them if they spoke out.

    More recently, a Pennsylvania restaurant manager with a presence on Megan’s List was arrested and charged for groping and fondling female teenage employees ages 15 and 16. The restaurant was a well-known national franchise that failed to perform an inexpensive and necessary background check as a tool for preventing such incidents.

    Civil and Criminal Cases of Sexual Abuse in Philadelphia

    Victims of sexual abuse have two courses of action in Philadelphia: a civil or a criminal claim. Neither approach is exclusive, and a victim is entitled to pursue both. Our Philadelphia sexual abuse attorney will explain the differences between the two type of claims.

    Criminal prosecution is centered around punishing the abuser or assailant through sentencing them to jail time, probation, or imposing other court-enforced restitution. In a civil case, a victim will seek monetary compensation for the harm they endured.

    In a criminal proceeding, a victim rarely feels as if they have a say or play a part in the case. The prosecutor determines the course of action, while the sexual abuse survivor often offers nothing more than physical evidence. There is also a higher burden of proof required to hold the abuser accountable for their actions. It is important to note that while a conviction will help a civil case, it is not required. Your assailant could be found not-guilty and could still be held liable in a civil lawsuit. Additionally, a criminal prosecution is not necessary to hold someone personally responsible for the injuries they caused.

    One benefit of a civil claim is it provides a survivor of sexual abuse agency. While our experienced Philadelphia sexual abuse lawyer will offer guidance and their legal opinions, the survivor has the final decision in all matters. In many cases, a victim of sexual abuse finds a sense of justice and closure through a civil lawsuit. They also have the possibility of being awarded financial compensation that could be helpful in moving forward.

    The Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Cases in Philadelphia

    The time a victim has to file a civil lawsuit in a sexual abuse claim is based on the victim’s age at the time of the assault. If you were an adult when the abuse occurred, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a personal lawsuit.

    The deadline is much different if the victim of the abuse was a minor. Thanks to legislation passed in 2019, a victim of childhood sexual abuse in Philadelphia has until their 55th birthday to file a civil claim. At the time of this writing, Pennsylvania is still considering expanding that deadline.

    No matter when the abuse occurred, you must file the case within the deadline specified in the statute of limitations. If you allow the deadline to pass, you could be prohibited from seeking justice through a civil claim. It is crucial to speak with our compassionate Philadelphia abuse attorney to ensure you have the time to prepare and file your case.

    Damages Available in a Philadelphia Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

    In addition to the justice and sense of closure many survivors experience when filing a personal injury case, they are also seeking financial compensation for the harm they suffered. While money cannot make the pain disappear, it does often allow a victim to move forward and get the treatment they need.

    Victims of abuse are entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to a survivor’s financial losses. The damages available will depend on the circumstances of your case but could include medical expenses, therapy costs, and lost income if your ability to work was limited by the horror you endured.

    Non-economic damages are sometimes called intangible damages. As the name implies, these damages are challenging to quantify. Nonetheless, a victim of sexual abuse is permitted to recover for the emotional and physical pain they suffered. Emotional suffering could include anxiety, humiliation, fear, insomnia, or a host of other adverse mental and physical effects resulting from the abuse. Our knowledgeable Philadelphia sexual abuse lawyer will work closely with you, your loved ones, and your healthcare providers to place a justifiable amount on your non-economic damages.

    Sexual abuse is a terrible crime. In some cases, the abuse was permitted to continue because an institution or facility failed to address reports of abuse. In situations where an institution willfully and purposefully covered up allegations or reports of actual abuse, a victim could be awarded punitive damages. Unlike the compensation discussed above, punitive damages are not directly related to the injury or harm the plaintiff suffered. Instead, they are imposed by the court to punish the malicious and egregious conduct of the defendant.

    Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse Statistics

    This issue is disturbingly prevalent in the United States. A study published by David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, found that up to 16% of all individuals aged 14 to 17 are sexually abused over the course of an average year. One in five girls will be victimized, as will one in 20 boys. In fact, 7.2% of children surveyed in a 2019 report compiled by the Department of Justice admitting to being a victim of sexual assault. 80% of female sexual assault victims are under the age of 25.

    Elderly individuals housed in nursing homes are also disproportionately affected by these reprehensible crimes. Many fear coming forward against their caregivers, and as a result, the precise statistics are largely unknown. However, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that in Pennsylvania, only about 30% of all sexual abuse is reported by victims aged 65 or older. The vast majority of abuse takes place in care facilities, which account for roughly 83% of all incidents.

    Our Attorneys Can Help Victims of Sexual Abuse in Philadelphia

    If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse, contact our experienced Philadelphia attorney for sexual abuse victims. Call the law offices of The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 for a free and completely confidential case evaluation. You can also contact us online.

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    Philadelphia, PA 19102
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