California Child Sexual Abuse Facts and Resources

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While it is extremely distressing to be aware that child sexual abuse takes place, the appalling fact is that it does. Sadly, child sexual abuse happens more often than you might expect and the State of California is no exception to this atrocity. It is, therefore, useful to know that there is help available to both the victim and their loved ones to help them to get through such a terrible ordeal.

Child Abuse in California

Across the United States, 3.6 million cases of child abuse are reported every year. According to statistics reported by Child Project, one in three girls and one in five boys is sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday. Of those who are abused, only one-third of incidents are ever formally reported.

In just one year (2017), there were over 220,000 reports of child abuse and neglect across the states of Los Angeles and Orange County.

Who Sexually Abuses Children?

As parents, we try to shield our children by not letting them go alone to public places and telling them not to talk to strangers. Alarmingly, it is not strangers in a crowd who tend to be child abusers, but people who are close to, and have access, to the child. Abuse is carried out by leaders in community groups, school staff, and members of the church more often than one might expect or want to believe. Statistics suggest that of all child abuse victims who have reported the crime, over 90 percent of them knew their abuser.

On the whole, most people who work with children are trustworthy, decent, and kind but it doesn’t take a genius to know that roles giving abusers access to children are going to be a draw to such people.

Child Pornography

Taking nude pictures of a child with a view to sharing with like-minded abusers is a known form of child abuse. There have been, and still are, huge networks of abusers who share such images and videos.

Reporting Child Sexual Abuse in California

In California, as in most states, there is a dedicated phone number that can be called to report child sexual abuse. The person reporting the abuse is not expected to have to provide any proof and a good-faith report renders the person reporting it to be immune from prosecution. Contacting the police or sheriff with details of child sexual abuse is also acceptable and there are 24-hour Children’s Protective Services emergency response teams too.

There is a mandatory list of those who absolutely must report any form of child sexual abuse. In California, it is mandatory for therapists, and there are others listed, who become aware of clients who have viewed or downloaded child pornography, to report them to the relevant authorities. This has been challenged by many therapists who feel that clients will simply avoid therapy if they cannot share such information

Civil Liability

In a civil lawsuit, a child abuse attorney will first take the relevant action against the person or institution accused of abusing your child and try to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. Such action avoids the need for a court case and protects the privacy of the abused child. If, however, the institution refuses to accept responsibility skilled lawyers, such as Los Angeles childhood sexual abuse attorneys, will proceed to take the case to trial. Going down the route of a civil lawsuit does require less of a burden of proof than taking the route of criminal prosecution. This does make it easier for survivors of child sexual abuse to be able to see justice done.

Criminal Prosecution

As a parent of a child who has suffered the horrors of sexual abuse, it is important to seek the help of experienced lawyers who can help you through the case. The first thing to do is to contact a specialist child sexual abuse attorney who can advise and help you to seek justice

through the right channels. Bringing the abuser to justice through the State of California’s criminal prosecution system is probably the best way forward. You may have failed to succeed with a civil lawsuit or you may feel that formal prosecution is the only way, but using a trained and experienced attorney is key.

The State of California’s criminal justice system will seek to sentence the abuser to a period of imprisonment but ultimately, the decision is in the hands of the district attorney or prosecutor.